Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Researchers discover a new protein fold with a transport tunnel: Biochemists from Bielefeld, Toronto, Boston, and Kiel publish study in Nature

The Bielefeld chemist Michael Schwake and his colleagues have discovered a new protein fold. At its head (the red helices), this protein can bind enzymes and viruses. The tunnel in the protein structure is colored yellow.

Credit: Illustration: Nature
The Bielefeld chemist Michael Schwake and his colleagues have discovered a new protein fold. At its head (the red helices), this protein can bind enzymes and viruses. The tunnel in the protein structure is colored yellow.

Credit: Illustration: Nature

Abstract:
The protein LIMP-2 is vital for both humans and animals. If it is absent - due, for example, to a hereditary disease - substances of an unknown nature, probably lipids, accumulate in the organism. Up to now, scientists were unsure what the protein looks like and how exactly it functions. Privatdozent [senior lecturer] Dr. Michael Schwake from the Faculty of Chemistry at Bielefeld University (Germany) is doing research on the protein - and thereby preparing the way for future therapies. Together with colleagues in Kiel, Toronto, and Boston, he has now discovered that the protein LIMP 2 possesses a novel protein fold together with a nanomicroscopically small transport tunnel. The researchers have published their findings on Sunday (27 October) in the globally renowned scientific journal Nature.

Researchers discover a new protein fold with a transport tunnel: Biochemists from Bielefeld, Toronto, Boston, and Kiel publish study in Nature

Bielefeld, Germany | Posted on October 28th, 2013

Proteins are composed of amino acids. Although these are lined up as if along a string, they produce a twisted three-dimensional structure of helices and sheets. It is only this pleating that enables them to influence biological cells. 'We are decoding the structure and function of proteins in order to find out how biochemical processes within them take place,' says Schwake.

To study LIMP-2, Schwake's colleagues from the Canadian University of Toronto have crystallized the protein. Then they can use X-ray diffraction analysis to ascertain its crystalline structure. 'When analysing the images, we detected a protein fold that has not been described in any other protein up to now,' says Schwake.

LIMP-2 is present in every cell of the human body. It is found mostly in the lysosomes of the cells where it ensures that a specific enzyme reaches them. Lysosomes are the 'stomachs' of the cells and they break down harmful and unusable substances. A specific enzyme called beta-glucocerebrosidase is responsible for breaking down lipids. If this enzyme is defect or does not reach the lysosomes, these lipids will accumulate. Biochemists suspect that this is what causes Gaucher's disease that leads to an enlarged liver and spleen.

Schwake's studies confirm how LIMP-2 transports this enzyme. The protein has a 'head' consisting of several helices on which the enzyme docks. 'We also managed to show that the protein is equipped with a tunnel through which it transports substances through membranes,' Schwake reports. The biochemists have determined that it is highly probable that this channel is used to transport lipids away from the lysosome. 'We determined that by comparing the structure of LIMP-2 with that of related proteins,' says Schwake. Two of these proteins are known to bind and transport lipids. The comparison suggests that LIMP-2 must possess the same ability.

As a biochemist, it is not Schwake's job to develop a therapy - his interest is in basic research, that is, in finding out how the proteins work in the cells. 'Our findings could be used to develop substances to cure diseases,' he explains. 'Through our research, we now how ligands bind to the head and lipids are transported through the tunnel. One way to prevent this would be to deliberately disrupt the binding at these locations,' says Schwake.

Since February 2013, PD Dr. Michael Schwake has been running a research team in the Biochemistry III Research Group at Bielefeld University's Faculty of Chemistry headed by Professor Dr. Gabriele Fischer von Mollard. Before this, he was a researcher at the Institute of Biochemistry at Kiel University and at Stanford University (California). Schwake took his doctorate in 2001 at the Center for Molecular Neurobiology Hamburg and his post-doctoral habilitation in 2007 at Kiel University. For the study on LIMP-2, he worked with Professor Dr. Paul Saftig from the Institute of Biochemistry at Kiel University. He also cooperated with researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston (USA), the University of Toronto (Canada), the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, and the SickKids Research Institute, both in Toronto.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Dr. Michael Schwake

49-521-106-2091

Copyright © University of Bielefeld

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

Original publication: Dante Neculai, Michael Schwake, Mani Ravichandran, Friederike Zunke, Richard Collins, Judith Peters, Mirela Neculai, Jonathan Plumb, Peter Loppnau, Juan Carlos Pizarro, Alma Seitova, William S. Trimble, Paul Saftig, Sergio Grinstein, Sirano Dhe-Paganon: Structure of LIMP-2 provides functional insights with implications for SR-BI and CD36, Nature, published online on 27 October 2013:

Related News Press

Imaging

Scientists announce the quest for high-index materials: All-dielectric nanophotonics: The quest for better materials and fabrication techniques July 22nd, 2017

News and information

Scientists announce the quest for high-index materials: All-dielectric nanophotonics: The quest for better materials and fabrication techniques July 22nd, 2017

Pulses of electrons manipulate nanomagnets and store information: Scientists use electron pulses to create and manipulate nanoscale magnetic excitations that can store data July 21st, 2017

The first light atomic nucleus with a second face July 20th, 2017

Semiliquid chains pulled out of a sea of microparticles July 20th, 2017

Nanomedicine

Scientists announce the quest for high-index materials: All-dielectric nanophotonics: The quest for better materials and fabrication techniques July 22nd, 2017

Probiotics: Novel biosynthetic tool to develop metallic nanoparticles: This research article by Dr. Nida Akhtar et al has been published in Recent Patents on Drug Delivery & Formulation, Volume 11, Issue 1, 2017 July 20th, 2017

Semiliquid chains pulled out of a sea of microparticles July 20th, 2017

'Upconverted' light has a bright future: Rice University professor developing plasmon-powered devices for medicine, security, solar cells July 17th, 2017

Discoveries

Scientists announce the quest for high-index materials: All-dielectric nanophotonics: The quest for better materials and fabrication techniques July 22nd, 2017

Pulses of electrons manipulate nanomagnets and store information: Scientists use electron pulses to create and manipulate nanoscale magnetic excitations that can store data July 21st, 2017

The first light atomic nucleus with a second face July 20th, 2017

Semiliquid chains pulled out of a sea of microparticles July 20th, 2017

Announcements

Scientists announce the quest for high-index materials: All-dielectric nanophotonics: The quest for better materials and fabrication techniques July 22nd, 2017

Pulses of electrons manipulate nanomagnets and store information: Scientists use electron pulses to create and manipulate nanoscale magnetic excitations that can store data July 21st, 2017

The first light atomic nucleus with a second face July 20th, 2017

Semiliquid chains pulled out of a sea of microparticles July 20th, 2017

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

Scientists announce the quest for high-index materials: All-dielectric nanophotonics: The quest for better materials and fabrication techniques July 22nd, 2017

Pulses of electrons manipulate nanomagnets and store information: Scientists use electron pulses to create and manipulate nanoscale magnetic excitations that can store data July 21st, 2017

Probiotics: Novel biosynthetic tool to develop metallic nanoparticles: This research article by Dr. Nida Akhtar et al has been published in Recent Patents on Drug Delivery & Formulation, Volume 11, Issue 1, 2017 July 20th, 2017

Semiliquid chains pulled out of a sea of microparticles July 20th, 2017

Nanobiotechnology

Probiotics: Novel biosynthetic tool to develop metallic nanoparticles: This research article by Dr. Nida Akhtar et al has been published in Recent Patents on Drug Delivery & Formulation, Volume 11, Issue 1, 2017 July 20th, 2017

Semiliquid chains pulled out of a sea of microparticles July 20th, 2017

Researchers revolutionize vital conservation tool with use of gold nanotechnology and lasers: Cryopreservation study results have sweeping implications for wildlife conservation and human health July 15th, 2017

Nanomedicine opens door to precision medicine for brain tumors July 12th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project