Folding proteins can help treat Alzheimer’s and other diseases

origami

Scientists using sophisticated imaging techniques have observed a molecular protein folding process that may help medical researchers understand and treat diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s and cancer.

The study, reported this month in the journal Cell, verifies a process that scientists knew existed but with a mechanism they had never been able to observe, according to Dr. Hays Rye, Texas A&M AgriLife Research biochemist.

“This is a step in the direction of understanding how to modulate systems to prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s. We needed to understand the cell’s folding machines and how they interact with each other in a complicated network,” said Rye, who also is associate professor of biochemistry and biophysics at Texas A&M.

Rye explained that individual amino acids get linked together like beads on a string as a protein is made in the cell.

“But that linear sequence of amino acids is not functional,” he explained. “It’s like an origami structure that has to fold up into a three-dimensional shape to do what it has to do.”

Continue reading via AgriLife Today.

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