[To review from high school biology and chemistry: An enzyme is a substance produced by a living organism that acts as a catalyst to bring about a specific biochemical reaction (such as the generic enzyme shown above).] Enzymes are a complicated-looking group of structures (see above). The Wikipedia introduction to the specific enzyme PP1 is:
Phosphoprotein phosphatase 1 (PP1) belongs to a certain class of phosphatases known as protein serine/ threonine phosphatases. This type of phosphatase includes metal-dependent protein phosphatases (PPMs) and aspartate-based phosphatases. PP1 has been found to be important in the:
1. control of glycogen metabolism
2. muscle contraction
3. cell progression
4. neuronal activities
5. splicing of RNA
7. cell division
9. protein synthesis,
10. and regulation of membrane receptors and channels.
In other words, this complex, New Year's Eve party-looking enzyme is part of so many processes in the human body that changing one part of PP1 for one disease (such as a cure for cancer) can radically affect the PP1 which is involved in other processes in the body (such as a cure for Alzheimer's disease):
Brown University researchers yesterday published this press release about PP1 advances yesterday:
From the photo and gif of enzymes above you'll note these are wildly complicated, interactive human structures. Below is the illustration that accompanies the Brown University article: (The main researcher is Dr. Rebecca Page, though the team includes several Brown scientists).
Credit: Page lab / Brown University
The enzyme PP1, the tan mass above, is everywhere in the body and has a role in nearly every biological process. That function is shaped by more than 200 regulatory proteins that bind to PP1, including one called PNUTS, the blue/purple and pink structures above. And, certainly learning more about PNUTS will cost significantly more than peanuts. And, note my great restraint in making no PNUTS or PP (1 or otherwise) jokes. I will leave that up to you.
Unravelling how regulatory proteins bind to PP1 is a large part of understanding and possibly curing diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's. And, yes, it is a very long and winding road from this Brown University research to cures for these human diseases.
This topic is quite new to me. I would appreciate your insights, thoughts, suggestions on this newly developing area of research.
Word Woman (Scientific Steph)
Agent for Change