September 2016

Bio-Synthesis Newsletter - September 2016

Can muscle aging be prevented?

Recent research suggests that muscle aging could be slowed down. Studying young and old mice demonstrated that impaired muscle could be the cause for muscle aging, at least partially. Finding treatments for the expansion of functional muscle stem cells may enable restoration of muscle strength or even help to repair damaged muscle in athletes and elderly people. Cosgrove et al. in spring 2014 reported that treatment of skeletal muscle stem cell (MuSCs) cultures from aged mice with an imidazole-based ATP-competitive inhibitor of the a and β isoforms of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) substantially reduced p38 signaling to levels below those of cultured MuSCs of young mice. Apparently, in stem cell cultures old stem cells can be converted to young stem cells.

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Can hops be used to treat cancer?

Beer brewers utilize hops in beer production, especially when brewing Indian Pale Ales (IPAs). Now researchers at the UIC/NIH Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago have studied the effects of hop extracts on breast cell lines. One compound called 6-PN, or 6-prenylnarigenin, was found to increase a detoxification pathway in the cells. Activating this pathway apparently lowers the risk for breast cancer. The results of the study suggest that 6-PN may have anti-cancer effects. Drinking hoppy beer such as IPAs may be good for you if done in moderation.

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A micropeptide regulates muscle performance

Anderson et al recently discovered and functionally characterized a micro peptide called myoregulin. The peptide was found to be encoded by a skeletal muscle-specific RNA annotated as a putative long noncoding RNA. The scientists showed that the 46-residue peptide is specifically expressed in skeletal muscle. Myoregulin is similar to phospholamban and sarcolipin in structure. The peptide colocalizes with the skeletal muscle-specific SERCA 1 protein in the sarcoplasmic reticulum membrane. It is a transmembrane a-helix peptide. Similarly to phospholamban and sarcolipin myoregulin inhibits calcium reuptake. It is now thought that myoregulin together with the other two proteins contribute to the unique contractile properties of different striated muscle types.

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What are dust mite allergens?

Many homes and buildings have indoor allergens that can give rise to chronic indoor allergies. These allergens appear to initiate the development of asthma. Most common indoor allergies are caused by dust mites, cockroaches, or rodents as well as pets, and fungi. For example, house dust mite and cockroach exposure are risk factors for allergic reactions in childhood asthma. Molecular biology methods including proteomics allow now for the detailed study of the role of indoor allergens in allergic diseases. For example, the structure of the dust mite allergen Der P 23 from the European house dust mite, Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, has recently been solved. This allergen accounts for a small percentage of the IgE response to mite allergens.

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The N-End Rule Pathway

N-Rule recognition refers to a proteolytic system in eukaryotes and prokaryotes that recognizes a set of N-terminal residues as part of degradation signals called N-degrons. The N-end rule states that the half-life time of a protein is determined by the identity of its N-terminal amino acids residue. N-terminal amino acid residues are recognized by N-recognins as components of degrons. Proteins that recognize N-degrons are called N-recognins. The N-end rule pathway is a major cellular proteolytic system that regulates homeostasis of various physiological processes. N-Recognins can recognize a set of positive charged (R, K, H) and bulky hydrophobic (F, Y, W, L, I) N-terminal amino acids to regulate physiological functions.


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