Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Penn-Temple Team Discovers What Keeps a Cell's Energy Source Going

Published: Friday, November 30, 2012
Last Updated: Friday, November 30, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Most healthy cells rely on a complicated process to produce the fuel ATP, understanding it’s production is important for understanding cancers.

Knowing how ATP is produced by the cell’s energy storehouse – the mitochondria -- is important for understanding a cell’s normal state, as well as what happens when things go wrong, for example in cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurodegeneration, and many rare disorders of the mitochondria.

Two years ago, Kevin Foskett, PhD, professor of Physiology at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues discovered that fundamental control of ATP production is an ongoing shuttle of calcium to the mitochondria from another cell compartment. They found that mitochondria rely on this transfer to make enough ATP to support normal cell metabolism.

Foskett’s lab and the lab of colleague Muniswamy Madesh, PhD, at Temple University, discovered last month an essential mechanism that regulates the flow of calcium into mitochondria, described in the October 26 issue of Cell. They found that the mitochondrial protein MICU1 is required to establish the proper level of calcium uptake under normal conditions.

In a new paper out this week in Nature Cell Biology, the same Penn-Temple team describe a new protein and its function. Like MICU1, this new protein, MCUR1, interacts physically with MCU, the uniporter calcium ion channel within the mitochondria. Calcium uptake is driven by a voltage across the inner mitochondrial membrane and mediated by the calcium-selective ion channel called the uniporter.

“But this newly described protein, MCUR1, has the opposite role as MICU1,” notes Foskett. “It seems to be a subunit that, together with MCU, is required for a functional uniporter calcium channel.”

Many cell plasma membrane ion channels also have subunits that are required for those channels to work. Before this paper, there was no realization that this mitochondrial channel, MCU, did as well.

Maintaining the correct levels of calcium in the mitochondria plays an important role in cellular physiology: Calcium flux across the inner mitochondrial membrane regulates cell energy production and activation of cell-death pathways, for example. In MICU1’s absence mitochondria become overloaded with calcium, generating excessive amounts of reactive oxygen molecules and eventually cell death. In contrast, in the absence of MCUR1, mitochondria cannot take up enough calcium. This also has detrimental effects: the cells cannot make enough ATP and they activate autophagy, a mechanism in which cells “eat themselves” to provide sufficient nutrients for survival.

Both papers deal with the function of the uniporter, the calcium channel in the inner membrane of mitochondria that lets calcium get into the mitochondrial matrix where it can do good things like promote ATP synthesis and healthy bioenergetics, or bad things, like mitochondrial-mediated cell death, apoptosis and necrosis.

Because of these two papers, the uniporter is now recognized as a channel complex, containing -- at least -- MCU, MCUR1 and MICU1. Since the uniporter can be a therapeutic target is reperfusion injury, ischemic injury, and programmed cell death, MCUR1 and its interaction with MCU are now targets for drug development.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Study Questions Presence in Blood of Heart-Healthy Molecules from Fish Oil Supplements
A new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania questions the relevance of fish oil-derived SPMs and their purported anti-inflammatory effects in humans.
Monday, August 03, 2015
Limber Lungs: One Type of Airway Cell Can Regenerate Another Lung Cell Type
Findings from animal study have implications for disorders such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
New Approach to Promote Regeneration of Heart Tissue
Study in animal model paving way forward for tissue repair.
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Penn Researchers Tame the Inflammatory Response in Kidney Dialysis
Researchers temporarily suppress complement during dialysis to avoid these problems.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
First Atlas of Body Clock Gene Expression in Mammals Informs Timing of Drug Delivery
Penn Medicine study has implications for 100 top-selling US drugs, half of which target daily-oscillating genes.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Study Identifies Potential Treatment Target for Cocaine Addiction
Small change in receptor subunit reduces cocaine seeking in an animal model of addiction.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Funding for DNA Vaccines to Fight Infectious Disease
DARPA awards $12 million to Penn-led group to develop synthetic DNA vaccines to fight infectious disease.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Personalized Cellular Therapy Achieves Complete Remission in 90 Percent of ALL Patients Studied
University of Pennsylvania and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia studies reveal unprecedented results with investigational therapy made from patients' own immune cells.
Friday, October 17, 2014
Ovarian Cancer Oncogene Found in "Junk DNA"
The study is published online in this week in Cancer Cell.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Activating Pathway Could Restart Hair Growth in Dormant Hair Follicles
Manipulation of the Wnt/ß-catenin signaling pathway could provide therapeutic targets for hair loss, unwanted hair growth and skin cancer.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Researchers Identify Four New Genetic Risk Factors for Testicular Cancer
Large, first-of-its-kind study finds genomic regions associated with higher risk.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Newly Described Type of Immune Cell and T Cells Share Similar Path to Maturity
Better understanding of cells' development has implications in study of inflammatory diseases.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
T-Cell Therapy Eradicates an Aggressive Leukemia in Two Children
CHOP/Penn Medicine oncology team reports complete remission in pediatric ALL patients.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Study Confirms No Transmission of Alzheimer's Proteins between Humans
No evidence to show that proteins can spread around within the brain or between animals and humans.
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Recently Identified Immune Cells Possible Therapeutic Target for Eczema
The increasing incidence of allergic skin diseases have spurred researchers to look for better ways to control these immune system-based disorders.
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Scientific News
Health Risks of Saturated Fats Aggravated by Immune Response
Research shows that the presence of saturated fats resulted in monocytes migrating into the tissues of vital organs.
Changing the Biological Data Visualisation World
Scientists at TGAC, alongside European partners, have created a cutting-edge, open source community for the life sciences.
NIH Study Finds Calorie Restriction Lowers Some Risk Factors for Age-Related Diseases
Two-year trial did not produce expected metabolic changes, but influenced other life span markers.
Immunotherapy Agent Benefits Patients with Drug-Resistant Multiple Myeloma in First Human Trial
Daratumumab proved generally safe in patients, even at the highest doses.
Low-level Arsenic Exposure Before Birth Associated with Early Puberty in Female Mice
Study examine whether low-dose arsenic exposure could have similar health outcomes in humans.
Inciting an Immune Attack On Cancer Cells
A new minimally invasive vaccine that combines cancer cells and immune-enhancing factors could be used clinically to launch a destructive attack on tumors.
‘Mutation-Tracking’ Blood Test for Breast Cancer
Scientists have developed a blood test for breast cancer able to identify which patients will suffer a relapse after treatment, months before tumours are visible on hospital scans.
Cellular Contamination Pathway for Heavy Elements Identified
Berkeley Lab scientists find that an iron-binding protein can transport actinides into cells.
Intensity of Desert Storms May Affect Ocean Phytoplankton
MIT study finds phytoplankton are extremely sensitive to changing levels of desert dust.
Common ‘Heart Attack’ Blood Test May Predict Future Hypertension
Small rises in troponin levels may have value as markers for subclinical heart damage and high blood pressure.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!