See also:

 “Iron taxis”: http://www.rsc.org/Publishing/Journals/cc/News/b703195e_Stemmler_250407.asp

“Direct interorganellar transfer of iron from endosome to mitochondrion”

http://www.medicine.mcgill.ca/physio/pdf%20&%20word%20files/pponka/Alex_Blood_2007.pdf

°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/108602.php

Protein Important To Blood Iron Levels Mapped By MSU Researchers

Article Date: 25 May 2008 - 11:00 PDT

Montana State University scientists in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have published new research that could one day affect the lives of millions around the world who suffer from blood iron disorders.

The paper, which will appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, details the work of Associate Professor Martin Lawrence and doctoral candidate Anoop Sendamarai. The pair have spent the past two years studying Steap3, a protein involved in regulating the body's absorption of iron.

The results of their studies - the first three-dimensional maps of the atoms that make up Steap3 - could allow pharmaceutical companies to someday design drugs to regulate iron levels in the blood.

"Iron is essential," Lawrence said. "You can't live without it, but it's a double-edged sword. Too much of a good thing can kill you."

Iron serves several important functions in the bloodstream. It carries oxygen, transports electrons within cells
,
and plays an important role in enzyme systems.

Iron irregularities are some of the most common blood disorders in the world. According to the World Health Organization, iron deficiency, which can lead to anemia, affects more than a billion people around the world and can cause developmental and immune system problems.

Conversely, having too much iron, a condition called hemochromatosis, can also hurt the body by releasing destructive free radicals, Lawrence said. Hemochromatosis affects about one in every 300 people and is most common in people of northern European ancestry. Left untreated, it can lead to early death, often by age 50.

"We're struck by how many people have too much or too little iron," Lawrence said.

To understand Steap3's role in transporting and maintaining balanced levels of iron, Lawrence and Sendamarai first had to find and purify samples of the protein and then turn those samples into crystals.

Lawrence said the result of the crystallization process, if done correctly, is analogous to the rigid structure of a brick wall. If done incorrectly, it more closely resembles a pile of bricks.

"It's kind of a black art
, really,
more than a science," Lawrence said. "You can't always predict the kind of witch's brew that needs to be around to get it to crystallize."

He said only a handful of labs in the country are crystallizing iron transport proteins like Steap3, a fact that places MSU on the same shelf as places like Harvard Medical School.

Once crystallized, the samples are shot with a powerful X-ray beam. Electrons in the sample diffract the X-rays, creating patterns on a digital sensor. The technique, called X-ray crystallography, has been used since the 1950s to determine the structure of different substances.

In their basement lab in the campus's New Chemistry Building, Lawrence and Sendamarai then examined the diffraction patterns created by Steap3.

"It's kind of like a contour map," Sendamarai said. "Whenever we see the peaks, we know there are atoms."

Working backward, they can mathematically determine the position of atoms in the protein and display them in three dimensions.

The computer-drawn result, a three-dimensional image that resembles tangled ribbons and strings, is
a
picture of what the atoms of Steap3 look like.

Sendamarai said having that picture, which depicts all the nooks and crannies on the protein's surface, could allow drug companies to design drugs to fit those spots like puzzle pieces.

If a future drug fits those nooks just right, it could help treat hemochromatosis. From there, Sendamarai said it would be conceivable to work backward and possibly treat iron deficiencies or anemia.

Lawrence said that Steap3 is only one in a family of proteins that affect iron transport. This summer, in addition to continuing to study Steap3, Lawrence and Sendamarai hope to learn whether the lab will receive a grant from the National Institutes of Health to work on other iron transport proteins.

"It's a critical step towards learning to modulate iron levels in patients with too much or too little iron," Sendamarai said. "But there are a lot of question marks left in iron transport. It's a big field."

----------------------------
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release.
----------------------------

Source: Michael Becker
Montana State University



The legacy of Marie Schlau: literature to help cure Friedreich's Ataxia

If you feel like reading an unputdownable novel while collaborating with a just and solidary cause, "The Legacy of Marie Schlau" is your book! 100% of all funds raised will be dedicated to medical research to find a cure for Friedreich's Ataxia, a neurodegenerative disease that affects mostly young people, shortening their life expectancy and confining them to a wheelchair.

The life of Marie Schlau, a German Jewish girl born in 1833 hides great unsolved mysteries: accidents, disappearances, enigmas, unknown diagnoses, disturbing murders, love, tenderness, greed, lies, death ... alternatively a different story unfolds every time and takes us closer to the present. Thus, there are two parallel stories unravelling, each in a different age and place, which surprisingly converge in a revelatory chapter.

Paperback and Kindle versions for "The legacy of Marie Schlau" available for sale at Amazon now!

https://www.amazon.com/Legacy-Marie-Schlau-collective-Friedreichs-ebook/dp/B01N28AFWZ

 

Research projects currently being financed by BabelFAmily

Currently, BabelFAmily is financing two promising research projects aimed at finding a cure for Friedreich's Ataxia. Whenever you make a donation to us or purchase a copy of "The legacy of Marie Schlau", this is where all funds raised will be devoted to:

1) Gene Therapy for Friedreich's Ataxia research project:

https://www.irbbarcelona.org/en/news/international-patient-advocates-partner-to-fund-spanish-gene-therapy-project-to-treat

The project is the result of an initiative of Spanish people affected by this rare disease who are grouped in GENEFA in collaboration with the Spanish Federation of Ataxias and the BabelFAmily. The Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA), one of the main patients’ associations in the United States now joins the endeavour.

2) Frataxin delivery research project:

https://www.irbbarcelona.org/en/news/new-research-front-to-tackle-friedreichs-ataxia
The associations of patients and families Babel Family and the Asociación Granadina de la Ataxia de Friedreich (ASOGAF) channel 80,000 euros of their donations (50% from each organisation) into a new 18-month project at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona). The project specifically aims to complete a step necessary in order to move towards a future frataxin replacement therapy for the brain, where the reduction of this protein causes the most damage in patients with Friedreich’s Ataxia.

The study is headed by Ernest Giralt, head of the Peptides and Proteins Lab, who has many years of experience and is a recognised expert in peptide chemistry and new systems of through which to delivery drugs to the brain, such as peptide shuttles—molecules that have the capacity to carry the drug across the barrier that surrounds and protects the brain. Since the lab started its relation with these patients’ associations in 2013*, it has been developing another two projects into Friedrich’s Ataxia.

 

 

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