More than 600 million years of evolution has taken two unlikely distant cousins – turkeys and scallops – down very different physical paths from a common ancestor. But University of Leeds researchers have found that a motor protein, myosin 2, remains structurally identical in both creatures.
The discovery suggests that the tiny motor protein is much more important than previously thought – and for humans it may even hold a key to understanding potentially fatal conditions such as aneurisms.
Says Professor Knight of the University’s Faculty of Biological Sciences: “This is an astonishing discovery. Myosin 2’s function is to make the smooth muscle in internal organs tense and relax involuntarily. These creatures have completely different regulatory mechanisms: the myosin in a turkey’s gizzards allows it to ‘chew’ food in the absence of teeth, while that in a scallop enables it to swim. Yet they have exactly the same structure.” … Continue Reading »
An immune cell known as a neutrophil releases a protein that can suppress glucose production in the liver –without targeting insulin, researchers have found.
Neutrophils, a type of white blood cell, produce special immune proteins called defensins which seem to have a connection with glucose levels. During bacterial infection, defensin production can increase dramatically, a rise that frequently results in hypoglycemia. In addition, many patients with type II diabetes have decreased defensin levels. … Continue Reading »
For the first time, researchers have peered deeply at the atomic level into the protein that causes hereditary cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) — a disease thought to cause stroke and dementia.
The study pinpointed a tiny portion of the protein molecule that is key to the formation of plaques in blood vessels in the brain.
Ohio State University chemist Christopher Jaroniec and his colleagues report their results this week in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. … Continue Reading »