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:10/5/2018)... Ill. (PRWEB) , ... October ... ... Edwardsville, in partnership with the University of Illinois Extension and Monroe County ... Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Non-Land ...
(Date:10/5/2018)... DIEGO (PRWEB) , ... October 04, 2018 , ... Nothing ... cooking classes have become so popular. , Cooking appeals to companies because ... as group interaction, team cohesion, collaboration and decision-making skills. It’s also appealing in ...
(Date:10/2/2018)... GIBRALTAR, Gilbraltar (PRWEB) , ... October 02, 2018 , ... ... gaps between research, development, and access to stem cell therapy, has launched the pre-sale ... company is building a dual blockchain-based platform that will connect patients and stem cell ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/5/2018)... ... October 04, 2018 , ... Earthres Group, Inc., a ... the company’s brand identity and better reflects its current breadth of markets and ... engineering expertise and related support services to clients in seven market sectors, and ...
(Date:10/2/2018)... ... 2018 , ... The Alliance for Clinical Research Excellence and ... standards and testing of procedures for voluntary accreditation of clinical research sites. The ... Quality Management Systems and Chief Quality Officer, is underway in association with ...
(Date:9/27/2018)... N.J. (PRWEB) , ... September 26, 2018 , ... ... DNA testing are way ahead of their primary care physicians, according to a ... For this study, patients and doctors were asked about consumer adoption of fitness ...
(Date:9/24/2018)... ... ... ReGrow Helmet , the most advanced laser hair treatment device, is ... regrowth in the comfort of one’s home. Early campaign backers will save 40% off ... design and advanced technology of the ReGrow Helmet will lead the industry in engineering ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: