Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Culprit implicated in neurodegenerative diseases also critical for normal cells

Date:
June 13, 2013
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
The propensity of proteins to stick together in large clumps -- termed "protein aggregation" -- is the culprit behind a variety of conditions including Huntington's and Alzheimer's. With this notoriety, protein aggregation is considered to be a bad accident of nature. But new research shows that, when kept in balance, protein aggregation has beneficial functions that allow cells to organize themselves. The findings will be valuable as researchers design treatments for diseases that involve this process.

The propensity of proteins to stick together in large clumps -- termed "protein aggregation" -- is the culprit behind a variety of conditions including Huntington's, Alzheimer's, and mad cow diseases. With this notoriety, protein aggregation is considered to be a bad accident of nature that happens when protein structure is mismanaged. But new research published online on June 13th in the Cell Press journal Developmental Cell shows that, when kept in balance, protein aggregation has beneficial functions that allow cells to organize themselves in both time and space. The findings will be valuable as researchers design treatments for diseases that involve this process.

"We discovered that protein aggregation is a way cells can create spatial patterns in molecules called transcripts, which are the intermediaries between the DNA and proteins," says senior author Dr. Amy Gladfelter of Dartmouth College. Positioning transcripts in specific places allows the cells to control where the encoded proteins are made and can influence the localization and function of proteins. "This work redeems or elevates protein aggregation as not simply a terminal or negative function, but opens it up for examination as a mechanism exploited by cells for diverse purposes," says Dr. Gladfelter.

Key to this process is a repetitive stretch of a protein building block called glutamine, which is known to serve as a glue for protein aggregates in disease. Through studies in yeast, Dr. Gladfelter and her team found that this repetitive stretch of glutamine is also used to cluster proteins for a normal cellular process, namely the regulation of a cell's division cycle. They note that many other proteins that are not associated with disease have similar glutamine stretches in their sequences.

"We hypothesize that many cell functions may be spatially organized by taking advantage of these repetitive glutamine tracts that are surprisingly common in many types of proteins," says Dr. Gladfelter.

As more examples of useful protein aggregation are identified, it should become clear how aggregates are regulated so that they do not reach toxic levels associated with diseases. "Understanding how this 'sweet spot' of aggregation is achieved will be useful for understanding pathways that are misregulated in established protein-aggregation disorders," explains Dr. Gladfelter. Also, as therapies are developed to treat protein-aggregation-based pathologies, it will be critical to consider that there may be many useful aggregates that should not be destroyed in the process of treating disease-causing aggregates.


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. ChangHwan Lee, Huaiying Zhang, AmyE. Baker, Patricia Occhipinti, MarkE. Borsuk, AmyS. Gladfelter. Protein Aggregation Behavior Regulates Cyclin Transcript Localization and Cell-Cycle Control. Developmental Cell, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2013.05.007

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Culprit implicated in neurodegenerative diseases also critical for normal cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130613124307.htm>.
Cell Press. (2013, June 13). Culprit implicated in neurodegenerative diseases also critical for normal cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130613124307.htm
Cell Press. "Culprit implicated in neurodegenerative diseases also critical for normal cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130613124307.htm (accessed August 30, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Scientists are tripping the elderly on purpose in a Chicago lab in an effort to better prevent seniors from falling and injuring themselves in real life. (Aug.28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) It’s an unusual condition with a colorful name. Kids with “Alice in Wonderland” syndrome see sudden distortions in objects they’re looking at or their own bodies appear to change size, a lot like the main character in the Lewis Carroll story. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Scientists have long called choline a “brain booster” essential for human development. Not only does it aid in memory and learning, researchers now believe choline could help prevent mental illness. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive brain cancer in humans. Now a new treatment using the patient’s own tumor could help slow down its progression and help patients live longer. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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:
from the past week

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