Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Structure of important neurotransmitter regulator determined

February 04, 2008
Blacksburg, Va. - Researchers from Virginia Tech and the Brookhaven National Laboratory have solved the structure of an enzyme that is critical in the regulation of the neurotransmitter system in the human brain.

The enzyme is human kynurenine aminotransferase II (KAT II), which regulates the activity of the neurotransmitter system that is activated by glutamate, the most common neurotransmitter in the brain.

Qian Han, a research scientists in biochemistry at Virginia Tech; Howard Robinson, a biologist at Brookhaven; and Jianyong Li, associate professor of biochemistry at Virginia Tech, report their findings in the article, "Crystal structure of human kynurenine aminotransferase II," in the Feb. 8 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry (www.jbc.org/).

Li, who is corresponding author, explained that learning and memory depend upon glutamate; however, over stimulation will lead to neuron death and is one cause of such neurodegenerative diseases Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

"The product of KAT II is kynurenic acid (KA) that is a noncompeting binder of the glutamate receptors. Its binding to the glutamate receptors reduces stimulation. So it (KA) has a regulatory effect," Li said. "It is considered protective - although too much is also a problem," he said.

Before scientists can target KAT II as a treatment, they have to know how it works. Part of the challenge was solved when the DNA sequence of KAT II was determined, but knowing the code is not enough. How proteins pass their critical messages also depends upon their shape. Imagine proteins as curls of ribbons with each unique fold as important to the messages they convey as the sequences of letters in their genetic code.

Han, Robinson, and Li succeeded in determining both the unbound protein and its complex three-dimensional structures of KAT II. The structure in complex with kynurenine reveals the almost ephemeral linkages of the KAT II enzyme with its substrate.

"Now we know what it looks like, we can determine how it works and do research into how to manipulate the protein," Li said. "We have provided a molecular basis for biochemical regulation of this critical regulator."

The article reports on Han's research to crystallize KAT II in combination with a substrate. Robinson used a synchrotron to create X-ray diffraction patterns to reveal atomic and molecular associations within the crystal, which allowed Han and Li to do phase determination and an iterative process of model building and refinement and eventually describe the structure.

Virginia Tech


Related Neurotransmitter Current Events and Neurotransmitter News Articles


Why scratching makes you itch more
Turns out your mom was right: Scratching an itch only makes it worse. New research from scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates that scratching causes the brain to release serotonin, which intensifies the itch sensation.

Study identifies potential treatment target for cocaine addiction
A study led by investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has identified a potential target for therapies to treat cocaine addiction.

Synapses always on the starting blocks
While neurons rapidly propagate information in their interior via electrical signals, they communicate with each other at special contact points known as the synapses.

Real-time readout of neurochemical activity
Engineered cells reveal changes associated with learning, memory and reward IMAGE: Pale green cells are CNiFERs implanted in mouse brain. Traces in white illustrate shifts in the timing of dopamine release with learning, a change the CNiFERs allowed researchers to track... Click here for more information. Scientists have created cells with fluorescent dyes that change color in response to specific neurochemicals.

A New Window of Opportunity to Prevent Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Future prevention and treatment strategies for vascular diseases may lie in the evaluation of early brain imaging tests long before heart attacks or strokes occur, according to a systematic review conducted by a team of cardiologists, neuroscientists, and psychiatrists from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published in the October issue of JACC Cardiovascular Imaging.

Pathological gambling is associated with altered opioid system in the brain: Reduced feeling of euphoria when compared to healthy volunteers
All humans have a natural opioid system in the brain. Now new research, presented at the ECNP Congress in Berlin, has found that the opioid system of pathological gamblers responds differently to those of normal healthy volunteers.

I have anxiety, why is my doctor prescribing an antipsychotic?
What's in a name? Doctors have found that the name of the drug you are prescribed significantly influences how the patient sees the treatment.

Rapid agent restores pleasure-seeking ahead of other antidepressant action
A drug being studied as a fast-acting mood-lifter restored pleasure-seeking behavior independent of - and ahead of - its other antidepressant effects, in a National Institutes of Health trial.

An enzyme and synaptic plasticity
A small, "empty" space teeming with activity: a synapse is a complex structure where the neural (electrical) signal from the presynaptic neuron, as it travels towards its target -a muscle, a gland or another neuron - turns into a chemical signal capable of crossing the synaptic space before becoming electrical again once on the other side.

UCLA researchers find that drug used for another disease slows progression of Parkinson's
A new study from UCLA found that a drug being evaluated to treat an entirely different disorder helped slow the progression of Parkinson's disease in mice.
More Neurotransmitter Current Events and Neurotransmitter News Articles

Amino Acids, Hormones, Neurotransmitters

Amino Acids, Hormones, Neurotransmitters
by Zentrum Publishing


Reference information (actions, uses and natural sources) on 28 Amino-Acids, including the 11 Essential Amino-acids: Cysteine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Taurine, Threonine, Trytophan, Valine.
Further information on 10 related Hormones as well as Neurotransmitters and their uses. Also included are the Essential Fatty Acids, Fats and Oils.

Secrets to Controlling your Weight, Cravings and Mood: Understand the biochemistry of neurotransmitters and how they determine our weight and mood

Secrets to Controlling your Weight, Cravings and Mood: Understand the biochemistry of neurotransmitters and how they determine our weight and mood
by Maria Emmerich (Author)


All new 2013 second Revision. Updated with latest science and information. Before Maria’s passion for nutrition, she had a passion for donuts. She was an athlete and thought she could get away with eating what she wanted, as long as she worked out. NOT TRUE. Even though she ate enough calories, she was starving herself, specifically, she was starving her brain. Her stomach was filled with “substance” but her brain kept telling her to eat; our bodies are smart, they make us crave certain nutrients we need. For 90% of dieters, a deficiency in one of four essential brain chemicals can cause weight gain, fatigue, and stress. The solution to losing weight doesn't lie in deprivation diets; it lies in balancing our neurotransmitters. 1. Serotonin influences appetite. 2. GABA curbs...

Neurotransmitters and Anterior Pituitary Function

Neurotransmitters and Anterior Pituitary Function
by Eugenio E. Muller (Editor)




Neurochemistry of Consciousness: Neurotransmitters in mind (Advances in Consciousness Research)

Neurochemistry of Consciousness: Neurotransmitters in mind (Advances in Consciousness Research)
by Prof. Dr. Elaine K. Perry (Editor), Prof. Heather Ashton (Editor), Prof. Allan H. Young (Editor), Susan Greenfield (Editor)


This pioneering book explores in depth the role of neurotransmitters in conscious awareness. The central aim is to identify common neural denominators of conscious awareness, informed by the neurochemistry of natural, drug induced and pathological states of consciousness. Chemicals such as acetylcholine and dopamine, which bridge the synaptic gap between neurones, are the 'neurotransmitters in mind' that form the substance of the volume, which is essential reading for all who believe that unravelling mechanisms of consciousness must include these vital systems of the brain.Up-to-date information is provided on:
• Psychological domains of attention, motivation, memory, sleep and dreaming that define normal states of consciousness.
• Effects of chemicals that alter or...

The Neurotransmitter Era in Neuropsychopharmacology

The Neurotransmitter Era in Neuropsychopharmacology
by Thomas A. Ban (Author), Ronaldo Ucha Udabe (Editor)


This book consists of a collection of reviews prepared by basic scientists and clinicians involved in different areas of neuropsychopharmacology. The book focuses on the neurotransmitter era in neuropsychopharmacology.

Brain In Balance: Understanding the Genetics and Neurochemistry Behind Addiction and Sobriety

Brain In Balance: Understanding the Genetics and Neurochemistry Behind Addiction and Sobriety
by Fredrick Von Stieff M.D. (Author), Katie Schuh Juarez (Editor)


Brain in Balance gives insight into how your balance of neurotransmitters influences personality, memory, mood, depression, anxiety, and certain psychological disorders. It also clarifies why people suffer from drug addiction and alcoholism and explains how they can gain permanent relief. Dr. Von Stieff’s methods of establishing balance in individuals’ neurochemicals have provided record-breaking lasting results for patients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area that have left people wondering — How does he do it? His answer, “It’s all in the neurotransmitters.” With this book, his goal is to help medical staff and counselors everywhere provide the best treatment possible, and encourage individuals to seek a higher quality of life.

Nerve-Driven Immunity: Neurotransmitters and Neuropeptides in the Immune System

Nerve-Driven Immunity: Neurotransmitters and Neuropeptides in the Immune System
by Mia Levite (Editor)


“Nerve-Driven Immunity: Neurotransmitters and Neuropeptides in the Immune System” summarizes, analyzes and sheds new light on an unrecognized, yet very important role of key neurotransmitters and neuropeptides in the immune system.
Each chapter of the book deals with a different neurotransmitter/neuropeptide from the following list: Dopamine, Adrenaline, Noradrenaline, Acetylcholine, Glutamate, GABA, Somatostatin, Neuropeptide Y (NPY), Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP), Calcitonin gene related peptide (CGRP), Opioids and Cannabinoids.
For each of these neurotransmitters/neuropeptides, the following four topics are discussed:The specific receptors for the neurotransmitter/neuropeptide expressed in various types of immune cellsThe direct effects induced by the...

Neurons & Neurotransmitters Wall Chart: 8271 (Physiology)

Neurons & Neurotransmitters Wall Chart: 8271 (Physiology)
by Scientific Publishing (Author)


Book by Scientific Publishing

Heal with Amino Acids and Nutrients: Survive Stress, Pain, Anxiety, Depression, & More Without Drugs--What to Use and When

Heal with Amino Acids and Nutrients: Survive Stress, Pain, Anxiety, Depression, & More Without Drugs--What to Use and When
by Pain & Stress Publications


Amino acids are the medicines of the 21st century. Your brain and body cannot function without amino acids. The late Carl Pfeiffer, M.D., Ph.D., renown for his work with amino acids and brain chemistry, believed that we can correct the chemical imbalance of disease. His claim that "Many diseases are known to be the wrong balance of essential amino acids and nutrients in the body" is the driving force behind our work at Pain & Stress Publications.
It is becoming widely recognized that use of meganutrients can cure patients by correcting brain chemical imbalances, but not so well known that in certain combinations they can be effective as pain-killers or tranquilizers. Amino acids are essential brain nutrients that have the healing power to help you feel better, think better, and stay...

Handbook of Neurochemistry and Molecular Neurobiology: Neurotransmitter Systems

Handbook of Neurochemistry and Molecular Neurobiology: Neurotransmitter Systems
by N.S. Abel Lajtha (Editor), Sylvester E. Vizi (Editor)


Understanding the biology of brain function is a great challenge and a major goal of modern science. The brain is one of the last great frontiers in science, and the unraveling of its mysteries is comparable in complexity to efforts in space exploration. A fundamental goal of neuroscience is to understand how neurons generate behavior and the pathophysiology of different mental and neurological diseases. The aim of this book is to describe recent discoveries about the basic operations of the brain and to provide an introduction to the adaptations for specific types of information processing.

© 2014 BrightSurf.com