Spider silk stabilizes cancer-fighting proteins and more – PharmaLive

Maybe Spider-Man was onto something. Although spider silk and synthetic forms have been used for a wide range of applications, including bulletproof clothing, biodegradable bottles and bandages, and surgical thread, new research suggests they could be used for cancer therapies. For that and more research information, keep reading.

Spider silk to stabilize cancer-fighting protein

The p53 protein plays a key role in defending the immune system against cancer. P53 works in part by finding and preventing genetic mutations that can cause cancer. This has made it an attractive target for cancer drugs, but unfortunately the protein quickly breaks down in cells. Researchers at Karolinska Institute to have found that by adding a spider silk protein to p53, the resulting protein is more stable while still being able to kill cancer cells. They published their research in the journal Structure.

“The problem is that cells only make small amounts of p53 and then quickly break it down because it’s a very large, messy protein,” said Michael Landreh, a researcher in the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology. from the Karolinska Institute. “We were inspired by how nature creates stable proteins and used spider silk protein to stabilize p53. Spider silk is made up of long chains of highly stable proteins and one of nature’s strongest polymers.

Source: Organic Space

They attached a small piece of a synthetic spider silk protein to the human p53 protein. They then introduced it into cells, where the cells began to produce large amounts of protein. The new protein was more stable than regular p53 and killed cancer cells. Using a variety of techniques, including electron microscopy, computer simulations and mass spectrometry, they believe that part of the spider silk gave structure to the disordered segments of p53. Future research will focus on how the different parts of the protein interact to prevent cancer and how cells tolerate the spider silk component of the combined protein.

Risk of heart attack: there is an app for that!

A research team with The Scripps Research Institute at developed a smartphone application that can determine a user’s genetic risk for coronary artery disease (CAD). And their study found that people using it who were at high risk talked to their doctors about the appropriate medications. The app, called MyGeneRank, takes individuals’ genetic data from genetic testing company 23andMe and calculates a CAD risk score based on that data. Of the 721 people who participated in the study and provided complete information, people with high-risk scores were significantly more likely to start taking statins or other cholesterol-lowering drugs compared to people having higher risk scores – about twice as likely. They started by promoting the app at scientific conferences as well as a Facebook ad campaign, which attracted 3,800 eligible respondents, 721 of whom provided enough initial and follow-up data for analysis. Their next steps are larger, long-term studies of CAD risk-scoring applications that will include physicians and assess differences in cardiovascular health outcomes, such as heart attacks.

Does high cholesterol really cause heart disease?

New research from the University of Medicine and Health Sciences RCSI found that the association between the so-called “bad” cholesterol, LDL-C, and heart attacks and strokes, might not be as strong as previously thought. And in this regard, he questions the effectiveness of statins when used to lower LDL-C and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. They found that the link between lower LDL-C and statins had inconsistent and inconclusive results on their impact on cardiovascular disease outcomes such as myocardial infarction, stroke, and all-cause mortality. .

A skin test for Parkinson’s disease?

researchers with the University of Bologna and IRRCCS Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche di Bologna, Bologna, Italy, developed a potential diagnostic skin test for Parkinson’s disease. Currently, the disease is diagnosed with a consensus clinical assessment of symptoms. Researchers have found that the presence of neuronal deposits of phosphorylated alpha-synuclein (p-syn) in the brain and skin of Parkinson’s patients distinguishes them from people with symptoms of Parkinsonism by the accumulation of another protein, the tau. They think it could help with early diagnosis and differential diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease among the different parkinsonism subtypes. All synucleinopathies, such as atypical parkinsonism, progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), and corticobasal syndrome (CBS) have similar symptoms, but tau buildup causes them. Parkinson’s disease, however, is marked by an accumulation of p-syn.

Fruit flies, genetic mutations and autism

About a third of all autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are thought to be caused by de novo changes in DNA, such as non-inherited mutations. Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital were studying de novo variants in fruit flies present in the Simons Simplex Collection (SSC), an ASD-associated gene complex present in approximately 2,600 families. They also accidentally discovered a new form of rare disease caused by a gene called GLRA2 in the process. They were working with a fruit fly model to determine the biological consequences of ASD-associated variants and chose 79 ASD variants in 74 genes identified in the SSC. They found that manipulating many of these genes in fruit flies altered their behavior, providing functional evidence that genetic variants in humans had functional consequences. They developed more than 300 fly strains and determined 30 ASD-related variants with functional differences from the reference gene. By focusing on one of the genes, GLRA2, they found a rare X-linked variant of this gene that was associated with neurological characteristics they had not seen before. One of their conclusions is that ASD may not be a disorder involving many genes, but may be hundreds of genetic disorders.

Children with asthma are no more at risk of COVID-19

A study published in Pediatrics found that children and adolescents diagnosed with asthma do not have a higher risk of COVID-19 infection than children without asthma. The research was conducted by investigators at Duke University and analyzed the electronic health records of 46,900 children ages 5 to 17 in North Carolina. Among them, 6,324 suffered from asthma. The study covered a period from March 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021, which included the Delta Surge but not the Omicron Surge.

“Despite continued general precautions regarding asthma and COVID-19, we found no evidence that asthma predisposes children to SARS-CoV-2 infection or severe illness from COVID-19. 19,” the researchers wrote. “Importantly, we identified marked disparities in SARS-CoV-2 testing based on socio-demographic factors, highlighting the need for improved access to SARS-CoV-2 testing and care. 2 among certain vulnerable pediatric populations.

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