Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Food Can Affect A Cell In The Same Way Hormones Do

Date:
December 9, 2008
Source:
VIB (the Flanders Institute For Biotechnology)
Summary:
Researchers have discovered an important new mechanism with which cells can detect nutrients. This happens in the same way - and with the same effects – as when cells receive a message from a hormone. This finding can teach us more about how food affects our body; and, furthermore, it can form the basis for new candidate targets for medicines.

VIB researchers connected to the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven have discovered an important new mechanism with which cells can detect nutrients. This happens in the same way - and with the same effects – as when cells receive a message from a hormone. This finding can teach us more about how food affects our body; and, furthermore, it can form the basis for new candidate targets for medicines.

Related Articles


Receptors

Every living thing is composed of cells - and, via receptor proteins on their outer surface, cells communicate with each other and with the outside world. Receptors are found on skin cells (pain and pressure receptors, for example) as well as on the cells of other tissues and organs. By binding with certain substances, such as hormones, the receptors pick up signals from outside the cell. They transmit the signal to the interior of the cell, where it can induce all kinds of reactions. Receptors can be stimulated or blocked to evoke or prevent a certain effect. Foreign substances, such as medicines, can also bind to a receptor and cause a particular effect. For some time now, scientists have suspected that cells can also detect the presence of food via one or another receptor - but no one has known how that happens.

Sensing and transporting

In addition to receptors, cells also have transport proteins that can carry nutrients through the cell membrane to the inside of the cell, where they can be put to use. Furthermore so-called ‘transceptors’ have been discovered that sense and transport food simultaneously.

Now, VIB researcher Griet Van Zeebroeck and her colleagues in Johan Thevelein’s group have shown for the first time how one of these transceptors (called Gap1) works. Gap1 transports amino acids (a protein’s building blocks) to the inside of a cell. At the same time, via the same mechanisms that cells use to transmit signals from hormones, Gap1 sends the cell a signal that food is present. The transceptor apparently uses the same binding site to recognize the food as it uses to grasp the food for transport.

Yeast vs. humans

This research has been conducted on yeast cells, as yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is a micro-organism that is used as a model organism. Yeast cells are surprisingly similar to human cells, but they are easier to cultivate and manipulate. Very often, proteins that are found in yeast - transport proteins and receptors, for example - have similar variants in human cells.

Importance of this research

This research can have important implications for the development of medicines. About half of all medicines are transmitted to cells via receptors, because receptors are located on the cells’ exterior surface and are therefore the best targets for medicines. If these newly discovered transceptors are also found in humans, then an unexpected new group of candidate targets for medicines becomes available - offering promising possibilities for the treatment of metabolic diseases.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by VIB (the Flanders Institute For Biotechnology). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Van Zeebroeck et al. Transport and signaling via the amino acid binding site of the yeast Gap1 amino acid transceptor. Nature Chemical Biology, Dec 7, 2008; DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.132

Cite This Page:

VIB (the Flanders Institute For Biotechnology). "Food Can Affect A Cell In The Same Way Hormones Do." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081207133813.htm>.
VIB (the Flanders Institute For Biotechnology). (2008, December 9). Food Can Affect A Cell In The Same Way Hormones Do. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081207133813.htm
VIB (the Flanders Institute For Biotechnology). "Food Can Affect A Cell In The Same Way Hormones Do." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081207133813.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gorilla Falls Into Zoo Moat

Gorilla Falls Into Zoo Moat

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) A gorilla comes to the rescue of her sister who fell into a moat in Israel&apos;s Safari zoo. Rough cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Giant Amphibian Fossils Found in Portugal

Giant Amphibian Fossils Found in Portugal

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) Scientists discover a new species of giant amphibian that was one of the largest predators on earth about 220 million year ago. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rhino Goes on Deadly Rampage in Nepal

Rhino Goes on Deadly Rampage in Nepal

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) A rhino runs rampant down a bustling city street, killing one woman and injuring several others, before security personnel chase it back into the forest. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bionic Ants Could Be Tomorrow's Factory Workers

Bionic Ants Could Be Tomorrow's Factory Workers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) Industrious 3D printed bionic ants working together could toil in the factories of the future, says German technology company Festo. The robotic insects cooperate and coordinate their actions and movements to achieve a common aim. Amy Pollock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins