HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Biological trick reveals key step in melatonin's regulation

Johns Hopkins researchers have uncovered a key step in the body's regulation of melatonin, a major sleep-related chemical in the brain. In the advance online section of Nature Structural Biology, the research team reports finding the switch that causes destruction of the enzyme that makes melatonin -- no enzyme, no melatonin.

Melatonin levels are high at night and low during the day. Even at night, melatonin disappears after exposure to bright light, a response that likely contributes to its normal daily cycle, but plagues shift workers and jet setters by leading to sleeplessness. To help understand melatonin's light-induced disappearance, the Hopkins researchers turned to the enzyme that makes it, a protein called AANAT.

One way cells turn proteins like AANAT on and off is by modifying them, attaching or removing small bits, such as phosphate groups, to particular spots along the protein's backbone. For AANAT, the key spot turns out to be building block number 31, the researchers have found.

"We have discovered that addition and removal of the phosphate group at this position is the key step in regulating the enzyme's stability," says Philip Cole, M.D., Ph.D., professor and director of pharmacology and molecular sciences in Hopkins' Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences. "When this phosphate group is present, the enzyme is stable."

To test the importance of the phosphate group to the enzyme's stability, research associate Weiping Zheng, Ph.D., developed a mimic of the key building block with the equivalent of a permanently affixed phosphate group.

Zheng inserted the mimic into the appropriate place in the enzyme, and research associate Zhongsen Zhang injected the altered enzyme into cells. The altered enzyme stayed intact in the cells much longer than the normal enzyme, whose phosphate group can easily be removed, the scientists report.

The researchers' next step is to determine how exposure to light accelerate
'"/>

Contact: Joanna Downer
jdowner1@jhmi.edu
410-615-5105
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
26-Oct-2003


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Biological oceanographers examine regime shifts in complex marine ecosystems
2. Biological computer diagnoses cancer and produces drug in a test tube
3. Biological cause of one form of blindness identified by SLU researchers
4. Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences to offer forum
5. Biological clock more influenced by temperature than light
6. Systematics at a Crossroads: Biological and Philosophical Arguments
7. Biological and chemical agents in terrorism examined at AAN Annual Meeting
8. Biological Challenges to Humanity: Emerging and Re-emerging Pathogens
9. Biological evidence can persuade people to change unhealthy habits
10. Biological warfare: an emerging threat in the 21st century
11. Biological clock gene in bees found to have another function

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:8/14/2018)... ... August 13, 2018 , ... ... Staticmaster® P-2021-5502 and P-2021-5602 Cleanroom Ionizing Gun. , The ionizing gun features ... Gun, P-2021 ionizing cartridge, 0.5-micron filter and electropolished OSHA-compliant tip. This can be ...
(Date:8/9/2018)... ... August 08, 2018 , ... ... and marketing companies, who helps physicians bring the latest regenerative therapies and treatment ... and Saturday, October 5-6, 2018 in White Plains, NY. , The ...
(Date:8/7/2018)... ... 06, 2018 , ... BioMedGPS announces the launch of SmartTRAK ... its medical device customers, BioMedGPS teamed up with a usability expert to help ... 3.0 touts a cleaner look, easier navigation and improved functionality. , SmartTRAK ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/11/2018)... ... 2018 , ... Researchers performing pressurized NMR or EPR experiments face a danger ... for High-Pressure NMR & EPR by Wilmad-LabGlass – SP Scienceware shields researchers from ... High-pressure experiments have significantly grown in popularity over the last several years. As a ...
(Date:8/9/2018)... ... August 08, 2018 , ... ... was developed and is continually updated by a talented scientific team that includes ... service provides: , 1. Information on the medical impact of a patient’s ...
(Date:8/9/2018)... ... August 08, 2018 , ... Since their establishment in 2012, ambitions have ... team nearly double its’ size from last year, the company is thrilled to announce ... heads and impressed crowds at a private product launch event during the annual Protein ...
(Date:8/9/2018)... ... August 09, 2018 , ... Rockland Immunochemicals, Inc. announced ... Aggeler, Director of Antibody Development at Bio-Techne, composed a peer-reviewed article using their ... on August 9, 2018 and will be printed in the September 2018 issue ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: