Navigation Links
New mechanism for protein misfolding may link to ALS
Date:9/28/2013

Proteins play important roles in the human body, particularly neuroproteins that maintain proper brain function.

Brain diseases such as ALS, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's are known as "tangle diseases" because they are characterized by misfolded and tangled proteins which accumulate in the brain.

A team of Australian and American scientists discovered that an unusual amino acid called BMAA can be inserted into neuroproteins, causing them to misfold and aggregate. BMAA is produced by cyanobacteria, photosynthetic bacteria that form scums or mats in polluted lakes or estuaries.

BMAA has been detected in the brain tissues of ALS patients.

In an article published in PLOS ONE scientists at the University of Technology Sydney and the Institute for Ethnomedicine in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, report that BMAA mimics a dietary aminoacid, L-Serine, and is mistakenly incorporated into neuroproteins, causing the proteins to misfold. The misfolded proteins build up in cells, eventually killing them.

"We found that BMAA inserts itself by seizing the transfer RNA for L-Serine. This, in essence, puts a kink in the protein causing it to misfold," says lead author Dr. Rachael Dunlop, a cell biologist in Sydney working in the laboratory of Dr. Ken Rodgers.

"The cells then begin programmed cell death, called apoptosis. "Even more importantly, the scientists found that extra L-Serine added to the cell culture can prevent the insertion of BMAA into neuroproteins. The possibility that L-Serine could be used to prevent or slow ALS is now being studied."

Even though L-serine occurs in our diet, its safety and efficacy for ALS patients should be properly determined through FDA-approved clinical trials before anyone advocates its use," says American co-author Dr. Paul Cox.

In ALS, motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord die, progressively paralyzing the body until even swallowing and breathing becomes impossible.

The disease is relatively rare but has affected a number of high-profile people including Professor Stephen Hawking and Yankee baseball player Lou Gehrig.

"For many years scientists have linked BMAA to an increased risk of motor neuron disease but the missing pieces of the puzzle relate to how this might occur. Finally, we have one of those pieces," said Dr Sandra Banack, a co-author on the paper.


'/>"/>

Contact: Marilyn Asay
marilyn@ethnomedicine.org
801-375-6214
University of Technology Sydney
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Mechanism for Burgess Shale-type preservation
2. New insight into mechanisms behind autoimmune diseases suggests a potential therapy
3. Unexpected discovery reveals a new mechanism for how the cerebellum extracts signal from noise
4. Researchers unravel genetic mechanism of fatty liver disease in obese children
5. Mechanism found connecting metastatic breast cancer and arthritis
6. UF receives $1 million from Keck Foundation to study mechanisms of inherited disease
7. New genetic mechanism of immune deficiency discovered
8. Housekeeping mechanism for brain stem cells discovered
9. Carnegie Mellon fluorescent biosensor reveals mechanism critical to immune system amplification
10. Researchers find mechanism that gives plants balance
11. New key mechanism in cell division discovered
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/16/2017)... May 16, 2017  Veratad Technologies, LLC ( www.veratad.com ... age and identity verification solutions, announced today they will ... 2017, May 15 thru May 17, 2017, in ... International Trade Center. Identity impacts the ... in today,s quickly evolving digital world, defining identity is ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... SINGAPORE , May 5, 2017 ... has just announced a new breakthrough in biometric ... that exploits quantum mechanical properties to perform ... new smart semiconductor material created by Ram Group ... across finance, entertainment, transportation, supply chains and security. ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... , April 19, 2017 The ... vendor landscape is marked by the presence of several ... however held by five major players - 3M Cogent, ... companies accounted for nearly 61% of the global military ... companies in the global military biometrics market boast global ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Proscia Inc ., a data solutions ... “Pathology is going digital. Is your lab ready?” with Dr. Nicolas Cacciabeve, Managing ... how Proscia improves lab economics and realizes an increase in diagnostic confidence.* ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... ... Disappearing forests and increased emissions are the main causes of the evolving ... those living in larger cities are affected by air pollution related diseases. , That ... countries globally - decided to take action. , “I knew I had to take ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... 10, 2017 , ... San Diego-based team building and cooking events company, Lajollacooks4u, ... The bold new look is part of a transformation to increase awareness, appeal ... growth period. , It will also expand its service offering from its signature gourmet ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... Dr. Bob Harman, founder and CEO of ... Club. The event entitled “Stem Cells and Their Regenerative Powers,” was ... Dr. Harman, DVM, MPVM was joined by two human doctors: Peter B. Hanson, M.D., ...
Breaking Biology Technology: