An international team of scientists led by Professor Samar Hasnain and Dr Svetlana Antonyuk has produced a ‘structural movie’ revealing the step-by-step creation of an important naturally occurring chemical in the body that plays a role in some cancers.
The international team, which includes researchers from the Center for Cooperative Research in Biosciences, Spain, and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, used X-ray crystallography to successfully unravel how the catalytic subunit MATα2 synthesises SAMe, with details of every atom’s location and behaviour as the synthesis takes place.
IIB scientists are joining forces with Khon Kaen University in Thailand to investigate how a parasitic infection in fish increases the risk of liver inflammation and cancer in local village communities. Opisthorchiasis is a parasitic disease caused by the liver fluke Opisthorchis viverrini. It is a disease of poor communities and is endemic in northeastern Thailand and the neighbouring Mekong region, where there is a heavy reliance on fishing for food or income generation.
IIB researchers have discovered that muscle cells affected by muscular dystrophy contain high levels of an enzyme that impairs muscle repair. This finding provides a new target for potential drug treatments for the disease, which currently has no cure.
Muscular dystrophy (MD) is an inherited genetic condition that gradually causes a weakening of muscles. Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is the most common, and one of the most severe types, of the disease. There are around 2,500 people in the UK living with DMD, which usually affects boys in early childhood and leads to progressively worsening disability and premature death.