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Protein breakthrough for Nano-scientists

Signalling protein discovery may help researchers understand depression and Alzheimer’s in the future

New data on signalling proteins, called G proteins, may prove important in fighting diseases such as cardiovascular, neurodegenerative disorders, and cancer.

Researchers from Nano-Science Centre and Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology at the University of Copenhagen have shed new light on how signalling proteins transport and organize in specific areas of cells.

A better understanding of depression and Alzeimers

»This valuable knowledge could be used in the future to understand and cure disease such as depression and Alzheimer’s,« explains Dimitrios Stamou, associate professor at Nano-Science Centre and Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology to the US nanotechnology website

Cells depend on their ability to selectively transport and isolate proteins in specific areas.

Shed new light on protein membranes

Previously, proteins were thought to move around in cells by recognizing nanoscale patches in their surrounding membrane, also called lipid rafts.

This theory is the subject of intense debate.

The Nano-Science Centre researchers uncovered a previously unknown mechanism based on the shape of the membrane.

»This mechanism has always been there, but no one ever suspected it. Now we can take it into account and maybe even use it,« Dimitrios Stamou explains to the University Post in a subsequent comment.

Critical discovery

The results of the study were published in the prominent scientific journal Nature Chemical Biology.

»Unravelling the overarching importance of membrane-shape for the localization of literally hundreds of important signalling proteins will prove critical to our understanding of a plethora of biological process many of which are directly linked to important diseases,« Dimitrios Stamou says to