Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

MechanoBiology: New protein function discovered

Date:
January 18, 2010
Source:
Carnegie Mellon University
Summary:
Scientists have discovered a new function of a protein that could save lives.

Carnegie Mellon University's Philip R. LeDuc and his collaborators in Massachusetts and Taiwan have discovered a new function of a protein that could ultimately unlock the mystery of how these workhorses of the body play a central role in the mechanics of biological processes in people.

Related Articles


"What we have done is find a new function of a protein that helps control cell behavior from a mechanics perspective," said LeDuc, an associate professor of mechanical engineering with courtesy appointments in the Biomedical Engineering, Biological Sciences and Computational Biology departments.

"For over 15 years, researchers have been mainly focusing on a protein called Integrin to study these cell functions, but our team found that another lesser known protein called Syndecan-4 is extremely important in cell behavior in a field called MechanoBiology (a field linking mechanics and biology). Syndecan-4 is known to play an essential role in a variety of diseases like cancer," LeDuc said.

LeDuc's new findings appear in the Dec. 29 edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences along with complementary work that is appearing in another journal, Nature Protocols.

Essentially what his research does is take a look at how a protein's shape and form determines how it functions in the human body from a mechanics perspective. Proteins are composed of long chains of amino acids than can form bonds with other molecules in a chain, kinking, twisting and folding into complicated, three-dimensional shapes, such as helices or densely furrowed globular structures.

"These folded shapes are immensely important because they can define a protein's function in the cell," said LeDuc, who is also developing novel biologically inspired diagnostic approaches and materials as well as computational methods to understand molecular behavior.

LeDuc said his research finds that some protein shapes fit perfectly into cell receptors, turning chemical processes on and off, like a key in a lock. With mechanics changing the shape of proteins, LeDuc says the key might no longer fit into the lock, and serious consequences in the body can occur when proteins fail to assume their preordained shapes or fail to connect properly.

"Misguided proteins have been linked to disease such as cancer, arthritis and wound healing, among others," LeDuc said. "Our research is looking at how protein shapes affect cells and how cell biomechanics impacts the entire process."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Carnegie Mellon University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Carnegie Mellon University. "MechanoBiology: New protein function discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100112121944.htm>.
Carnegie Mellon University. (2010, January 18). MechanoBiology: New protein function discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100112121944.htm
Carnegie Mellon University. "MechanoBiology: New protein function discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100112121944.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) Urbanspoon predicts whicg food trends will dominate the culinary scene in 2015. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
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