Pathological protein clumps are characteristic of a series of diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and type 2 diabetes. Scientists have now used cryo-electron microscopy to obtain a sharp image for the first time of how individual molecules are arranged in protein strings, which constitute the deposits typical for diabetes. The structure of the fibrils is very similar to that of Alzheimer’s fibrils.
Scientists have developed molecules that can remodel the bacterial population of intestines to a healthier state. They also have shown — through experiments in mice — that this approach reduces cholesterol levels and strongly inhibits the thickened-artery condition known as atherosclerosis.
Well-timed exercise programs may slow the progression of Friedreich’s ataxia, which robs patients of their ability to walk, new research suggests.
Scientists have identified and developed two potent small molecules that appear to suppress tumor growth in multiple cancers even when other treatments cease to work, possibly due to the development of drug resistance. Called CS1 and CS2, these cancer inhibitor compounds are part of a protein known as ”fat mass and obesity-associated protein.” This FTO protein plays a critical role in cancer development and progression, primarily because it regulates cancer stem cells and immune evasion.
Structural biology has been used to ‘map’ part of a protein called SMCHD1, explaining how some changes in SMCHD1 cause certain developmental and degenerative conditions. Scientists have now revealed the structure of the portion of the SMCHD1 protein that is crucial to its function in ‘switching off’ genes. Inherited mutations in this part of SMCHD1 have been linked to a developmental disorder and a form of muscular dystrophy.
In a series of experiments using human cancer cell lines, scientists say they have successfully used light as a trigger to make precise cuts in genomic material rapidly, using a molecular scalpel known as CRISPR, and observe how specialized cell proteins repair the exact spot where the gene was cut.