Científicos de la U. de Columbia determinan la estructura en 3-D del "Medidor de Combustible" de la célulaContributed by: Anonymous · Views: 1,768
Contributed by: Anonymous · February 09, 2007 @ 10:33 AM MST · Views: 1,768
Columbia Scientists Determine 3-Dimensional Structure of Cell’s “Fuel Gauge”
Major Basic Science Discovery Is Promising Target for New Diabetes Therapies
An illustration of the AMPK protein
The protein, known as AMP-activated protein kinase or AMPK, controls metabolic decisions of cells. For example, it controls the decision regarding whether fat is stored or burned, based on the amount of energy in the cell. When the energy level of a cell is high, meaning that the cell contains high amounts of an energy-carrying molecule known as ATP, AMPK directs cells toward “anabolic” activities like storing the extra energy as fat. When ATP is low, AMPK turns off anabolic activities, and activates “catabolic” functions, like burning fat to make energy.
AMPK provides an especially promising drug target for people with type 2 diabetes. These patients are insulin-resistant, meaning that their cells are not responsive to insulin which normally helps glucose get out of the bloodstream, where it does damage, and into cells. When AMPK detects low levels of ATP in the cell, it works through a different mechanism to increase how much glucose the cell takes in and uses to create ATP. Research in rodent models has shown that AMPK activators can lessen the pathologies associated with diabetes, including problems that diabetics have regulating blood sugar.
Dr. Shapiro explained that researchers do not yet know how to activate AMPK without activating other proteins and causing potentially toxic side effects. However, he notes that this development in understanding the atomic resolution structure of the protein provides researchers a powerful new tool for the design of useful therapeutics.
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Craig LeMoult, Columbia University Medical Center
Courtesy: Columbia University Medical Center