Led by UCLA physiologist H. Ronald Kaback (Sherman Oaks), an international research team's 12-year mission to solve the structure of an important protein has paid off. Kaback and his colleagues recently captured the three-dimensional structure of lactose permease (LacY), which moves lactose across the cell membrane of E. coli, a common bacterium.
According to Kaback, LacY is a model for a large family of related transport proteins, many of which are associated with human disease.
"We hope that the structure of LacY will offer a useful tool by enabling scientists to understand how other membrane transport proteins work," said Kaback, a professor of physiology and microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.
Published in the Aug. 1 edition of Science, the research findings could hold therapeutic implications for diseases such as lactose intolerance, diabetes, stroke and depression, which involve the malfunction of membrane transport proteins.
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Contact: Elaine Schmidt
University of California - Los Angeles
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