Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cylindrical cell structure parts may aid in targeting diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's

Date:
July 25, 2012
Source:
Virginia Tech
Summary:
Biologists recommend further study of how rope-like polymers called microtubules function. They computational comparations of two models of microtubules, a component of cell cytoskeletons.

Researchers are studying how components of cell structure function in order to determine viable ways to use them for fighting such ailments as cancer, Huntington's, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's diseases.

Related Articles


Jianhua Xing, a Virginia Tech assistant professor of biology, and his colleagues did computational studies to compare the mechanical properties of two alternative models of the assembly of rope-like polymers called microtubules, a component of cell cytoskeletons. The researchers' objectives are to learn how microtubules are regulated and how they assemble and disassemble.

"We want to understand the structure and regulation of microtubules because they are not static; they are always moving as they transport things in the cell," said Xing, who also is an affiliated researcher with Fralin Research Institute. "But there are discrepancies between two models of how microtubules work that also are contradictory to experiments."

The model of microtubule assembly that most people accept shows the individual subunits, dimers of the protein tubulin, just adding to the grow cylinder. But another model indicates that tubulin dimmers first form an open sheet structure that later closes into the cylinder. Xing and his team concluded that their computational study of the models indicate that the second model should be seriously considered for further testing.

The report of the work by Xing, Eva Nogales, and Zhanghan Wu appears in the June issue of Biophysical Journal.

Nogales, a structural biologists and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at University of California, Berkeley, was instrumental in developing the latter model. She said the dynamic instability of microtubules is a crucial property for their function in cells and although much is known about microtubules, scientists still don't understand what governs their assembly and disassembly processes.

"Our paper in Biophysical Journal is a step forward for the field, demonstrating that certain aspects in the biophysical behavior of microtubules that previously have been probed experimentally can better be explained by a new model of microtubule assembly that involves two distinct types of tubulin-tubulin lateral interactions."

Knowing the interactions and the regulation will impact how microtubules can be used to develop drugs that could more precisely target cells involved in various diseases.

"If nature invokes the two interactions in which part of the microtubule is flattened, then it may show us the function and regulation of these structures," Xing said.

The researchers have suggested that additional experiments should be performed on both models to determine more exactly the function and regulation of the microtubules. In the paper they state, "We believe that understanding the properties of the sheet bond holds the potential to guide the design of new tubulin-based drugs that regulate microtubule dynamics by uniquely proving that tubulin interface."

Wu, lead author on the paper, was a doctoral candidate in Xing's laboratory at the time of the research. He now is a post-doctoral associate at the National Institutes of Health. The Virginia Tech team was supported by the Thomas F. & Kate Miller Jeffress Memorial Trust and by the National Science Foundation. Eva Nogales is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and by Howard Hughes Medical Institute.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Zhanghan Wu, Eva Nogales, Jianhua Xing. Comparative Studies of Microtubule Mechanics with Two Competing Models Suggest Functional Roles of Alternative Tubulin Lateral Interactions. Biophysical Journal, 2012; 102 (12): 2687 DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2012.05.003

Cite This Page:

Virginia Tech. "Cylindrical cell structure parts may aid in targeting diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120725161810.htm>.
Virginia Tech. (2012, July 25). Cylindrical cell structure parts may aid in targeting diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120725161810.htm
Virginia Tech. "Cylindrical cell structure parts may aid in targeting diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120725161810.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
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