Neuroglobin: Protection Against Alzheimer’s?

ScienceDaily (Aug. 2, 2010) — A team of scientists at the University of California, Davis and the University of Auckland has discovered that neuroglobin may protect against Alzheimer’s disease by preventing brain neurons from dying in response to natural stress.   Neuroglobin protects cells from stroke damage, amyloid toxicity and injury due to lack of oxygen. Neuroglobin occurs in various regions of the brain and at particularly high levels in neurons.  Recent studies have hinted that neuroglobin protects cells by maintaining the function of mitochondria and regulating the concentration of important chemicals in the cell. However, the exact mechanisms by which neuroglobin protects cells from dying a natural death has, until now, remained unclear.  Click here for more on the research that resulted in these insights.

Insight: Huge Molecular Machine that Disposes of Undesirable Proteins

ScienceDaily (Aug. 2, 2010) — Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have obtained the closest look yet of how a gargantuan molecular machine breaks down unwanted proteins in cells, a critical housekeeping chore that helps prevent diseases such as cancer.  They pieced together the molecular-scale changes the machine undergoes as it springs into action, ready to snip apart a protein. Their work provides valuable clues as to how the molecular machine, a giant enzyme called tripeptidyl peptidase II, keeps cells tidy and disease free. It could also inform the development of obesity-fighting drugs.  Read more in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.