Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Trigger to fatal neurodegenerative disease uncovered using computer simulation

Date:
June 22, 2011
Source:
University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Summary:
A researcher has used a computer simulation to pinpoint changes in molecular structure that leads directly to Gerstmann–Sträussler–Scheinker (GSS) syndrome, a rare but deadly neurodegenerative disease.

Jeremy Smith, Governor's Chair for Molecular Biophysics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has helped reveal a key trigger of Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker (GSS) syndrome, a rare but deadly neurodegenerative disease. The finding could have far-reaching implications for the treatment of other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and Parkinson's.

Related Articles


Smith conducted his research with two collaborators in Italy: Isabella Daidone, a former postdoctoral researcher of his who is now at the University of L'Aquila, and Alfredo Di Nola of the University of Rome "La Sapienza."

Most GSS patients begin developing symptoms in their late fifties. Symptoms include loss of memory, difficulty speaking, and unsteadiness and lead to progressive dementia, and then death within a few months or years. There is presently no cure or treatment. The disease results from a single, tiny mutation in a protein, resulting in it having a wrong shape -- through "misfolding" -- then aggregating to form amyloid plaques in the brain.

"Ever since the 'mad cow' scare in Britain in the 1990s, which led to several hundred human deaths and 4.4 million cattle being destroyed, I've been interested in finding out more about these fascinating diseases of wrongly-shaped proteins," said Smith, who was born in England.

The team compared high-performance computer simulations of the structures of the normal and the GSS-mutant proteins. They found the GSS protein looks dramatically different from the normal form and revealed how its shape is primed for plaque formation.

"This research shows how computer simulation can be used to pinpoint changes in molecular structure that lead directly to disease," said Smith. "We think that a similar line of investigation should prove beneficial in understanding the origins of other amyloid diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and rheumatoid arthritis. Once the origin is understood at molecular detail, strategies to rationally prevent and cure a disease can be conceived."

The findings can be found in this month's edition of the Biophysical Journal.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Isabella Daidone, Alfredo Di Nola, Jeremy C. Smith. Molecular Origin of Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker Syndrome: Insight from Computer Simulation of an Amyloidogenic Prion Peptide. Biophysical Journal, 2011; 100 (12): 3000-3007 DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2011.04.053

Cite This Page:

University of Tennessee at Knoxville. "Trigger to fatal neurodegenerative disease uncovered using computer simulation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110622081354.htm>.
University of Tennessee at Knoxville. (2011, June 22). Trigger to fatal neurodegenerative disease uncovered using computer simulation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110622081354.htm
University of Tennessee at Knoxville. "Trigger to fatal neurodegenerative disease uncovered using computer simulation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110622081354.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
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

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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