Structures and Mechanisms of Protein Remodeling Machines

When a cellular protein has done its job or lost its utility, it should be removed, recycled, or remodeled. These tasks are performed by members of the ubiquitous family of AAA ATPases (ATPases associated with diverse cellular activities) that convert the energy of ATP hydrolysis into mechanical forces that can unfold protein aggregates, degrade unwanted proteins, and remodel protein complexes. Continue reading → Structures and Mechanisms of Protein Remodeling Machines

ARF6 Plays Key Role in Diabetes-Induced Blindness

University of Utah Health researcher Weiquan Zhu, PhD, and colleagues identified a protein, known as ARF6, which regulates the effects of VEGF by maintaining and amplifying its receptor signaling, thus stimulating a series of cascading responses that lead to diabetic retinal edema. Continue reading → ARF6 Plays Key Role in Diabetes-Induced Blindness

Therapy for ALS

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a catastrophic degeneration of the nervous system with great need for disease-modifying treatments. Stefan Pulst, MD, and his collaborator Daniel Scoles, PhD, were studying a lesser-known but similarly dire condition (spinocerebellar ataxia 2, SCA2) when they identified a gene relevant to both diseases. Continue reading → Therapy for ALS

Genetics of Alcohol Abuse – from Flies to Humans

In an unbiased screen, the lab directed by Adrian Rothenfluh, PhD, isolated flies lacking a certain gene (Rsu1) that produces a strong liking for alcohol, even before repeated exposure. Their investigations in Drosophila showed that Rsu1 and downstream signaling molecules regulate actin dynamics; genetic manipulations that increase actin filament turnover lead to accelerated development of alcohol preference, while manipulations that increase actin filament stability abolish the development of preference. Continue reading → Genetics of Alcohol Abuse – from Flies to Humans