Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists discover 'Achilles' heel' of clot-buster

Date:
March 8, 2012
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
A new study provides remarkable new insight into how plasmin is produced. This work may lead to more effective clot-busting drugs.

Everyone is familiar with the pain of skinned knees. However, the complex pathway of proteins that works behind the scenes after the bleeding has stopped is not as well known. Central to this process is the production of plasmin, a powerful blood enzyme that disposes of blot clots. Doctors also harness the "clot busting" abilities of plasmin to treat patients who suffer heart attack or stroke. Now, a study published by Cell Press on March 8th in the journal Cell Reports provides remarkable new insight into how plasmin is produced. This work may lead to more effective clot-busting drugs.

Related Articles


Plasmin is released into the blood in an inactive form called plasminogen. Circulating plasminogen is curled up in a "closed," activation-resistant form. In order for plasminogen to be converted to plasmin, it must first undergo a dramatic change in shape and "open" itself up. "We know that activation of plasminogen is tightly regulated," explains senior study author, Prof. James Whisstock, from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. "However, without knowing the atomic details of the closed form of plasminogen, it is impossible to understand what causes it to change shape and how it is converted to plasmin by plasminogen activators."

Researchers from Monash University and the Australian Synchrotron have now solved the long-sought-after atomic structure of closed plasminogen. "We were very surprised to find that a simple sugar tethered to plasminogen guards access to the site of activation," says Dr. Tom Caradoc-Davies, from the Australian Synchrotron. Most remarkably, however, the researchers also found that plasminogen plays a kind of peek-a-boo with the blood clot. "We found one part of plasminogen seems to be very unstable and transiently opens up a tiny bit. Proteins in the blood clot bind to this 'Achilles' heel' when it is exposed, trapping plasminogen in the open form that can be activated," says lead author, Dr. Ruby Law, from Monash University.

"We use plasminogen-activating drugs to treat stroke and other life-threatening disorders associated with blood clots. However, until now, the molecular details for these therapeutic effects have never been understood," concludes co-senior author, Paul Coughlin, a clinical hematologist from the Australian Centre for Blood diseases. "Now, with the structure of plasminogen and an enhanced understanding of how it is converted to plasmin, we finally have a platform to develop new and more effective clot-busting therapeutics."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Ruby H.P. Law, Tom Caradoc-Davies, Nathan Cowieson, Anita J. Horvath, Adam J. Quek, Joanna Amarante Encarnacao, David Steer, Angus Cowan, Qingwei Zhang, Bernadine G.C. Lu et al. The X-ray Crystal Structure of Full-Length Human Plasminogen. Cell Reports, 08 March 2012 DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2012.02.012

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Scientists discover 'Achilles' heel' of clot-buster." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120308132758.htm>.
Cell Press. (2012, March 8). Scientists discover 'Achilles' heel' of clot-buster. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120308132758.htm
Cell Press. "Scientists discover 'Achilles' heel' of clot-buster." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120308132758.htm (accessed March 6, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Bupa is hoping to expand in India&apos;s fast-growing health insurance market, once a rule change on foreign investment is implemented. The British private healthcare group&apos;s CEO tells Grace Pascoe why it&apos;s so keen on the new opportunity. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Releases Last Ebola Patient, But Threat Remains

Liberia Releases Last Ebola Patient, But Threat Remains

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) Liberia&apos;s last Ebola patient has been released, and the country hasn&apos;t recorded a new case in a week. However, fears of another outbreak still exist. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in Your Pocket Is Getting Smarter

Doctor in Your Pocket Is Getting Smarter

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Mobile apps are turning smartphones into a personal doctors, with users able to measure heart rate, blood pressure and even blood sugar. But will it change our behaviour? Ivor Bennett reports from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AbbVie Inks $21B Deal To Buy Cancer Drugmaker Pharmacyclics

AbbVie Inks $21B Deal To Buy Cancer Drugmaker Pharmacyclics

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) AbbVie announced Wednesday it will buy cancer drugmaker Pharmacyclics in a $21 billion deal. 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