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New universe of miniproteins is upending cell biology and genetics

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posted on Oct, 17 2019 @ 02:34 PM
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Biologists are just beginning to delve into the functions of those molecules, called microproteins, micropeptides, or miniproteins. But their small size seems to allow them to jam the intricate workings of larger proteins, inhibiting some cellular processes while unleashing others. Early findings suggest microproteins bolster the immune system, control destruction of faulty RNA molecules, protect bacteria from heat and cold, dictate when plants flower, and provide the toxic punch for many types of venom. "There's probably going to be small [proteins] involved in all biological processes. We just haven't looked for them before," says biochemist Alan Saghatelian of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, California.

Many appear to be encoded in stretches of DNA—and RNA—that were not thought to help build proteins of any sort. Some researchers speculate that the short stretches of DNA could be newborn genes, on their way to evolving into larger genes that make full-size proteins. Thanks in part to small proteins, "We need to rethink what genes are,"

BEING SMALL LIMITS a protein's capabilities. Larger proteins fold into complex shapes suited for a particular function, such as catalyzing chemical reactions. Proteins smaller than about 50 to 60 amino acids probably don't fold, says chemist Julio Camarero of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. So they probably aren't suited to be enzymes or structural proteins.

However, their diminutive size also opens up opportunities. "They are tiny enough to fit into nooks and crannies of larger proteins that function as channels and receptors," Olson says. Small proteins often share short stretches of amino acids with their larger partners and can therefore bind to and alter the activity of those proteins. Bound microproteins can also shepherd bigger molecules to new locations—helping them slip into cell membranes, for instance.

UNLIKE HULKING PROTEINS such as antibodies, microproteins delivered by pill or injection may be able to slip into cells and alter their functions. Captopril, the first of a class of drugs for high blood pressure known as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors was developed from a small protein in the venom of a Brazilian pit viper. But the drug, which the Food and Drug Administration approved for sale in the United States in 1981, was discovered by chance, before scientists recognized small proteins as a distinct group. So far, only a few microproteins have reached the market or clinical trials.


Came across this and thought I'd share. I highly recommend reading the full article. It's fairly long but fascinating.

It seems there's been a lot of research lately into mini and microproteins. Previously they were thought to not play a large role within the body, but it turns out they're involved in a large number of processes and are capable of things larger proteins are not and from the sounds of it may actually play a large role in our DNA and genetics. This is definitely something I'd like to keep following ajd see what kind progress is made.




posted on Oct, 17 2019 @ 02:48 PM
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a reply to: dug88

Things like this are amazing. Just amazing.

My belief is that given enough time humans will learn how to stop all illness and even end aging.



posted on Oct, 17 2019 @ 02:49 PM
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What if the human race was created for a reason.

And that reason was to do research and create tech for the rest of the galaxy.



posted on Oct, 17 2019 @ 11:16 PM
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Oh great, now we have to worry about someone putting these microproteins into our food supply for some stupid preservation technique and have them find out after everyone is sick that they misjudged things. Don't worry, there will be a class action lawsuit we can join, and the lawyers will get rich and the company will go bankrupt and we will get a buck twenty from the sale of the company as payment in full for them screwing up our lives.

Am I a conspiracy theorist or a realist?



posted on Oct, 18 2019 @ 07:06 AM
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Cool I will definitely read the article

I dont know why you are worried about mini or micro proteins when nano machines in your blood stream could be far worse


Have we discovered any nano proteins, or anything like nano bacteria ?
Nano virus that already live inside us
edit on 18-10-2019 by sapien82 because: (no reason given)



update:

yes indeed


The existence of nanobacteria was reported in 1997 by researchers Kajander and Ciftcioglu of the University of Kuopio in Finland, who claimed to have isolated these tiny organisms from human blood. After partially mapping the genetic sequence of the nanobacteria, the researchers announced them to be a new species, Nanobacterium sanguineum.


nanobacteria
edit on 18-10-2019 by sapien82 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 18 2019 @ 08:07 AM
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a reply to: dug88

I have a disease related to TNF-Alpha, a protein that is used by the immune system for a wide variety of solutions, including killing cancer cells. The upside is i am very resistant to cancer. The downside is they attack my body in multiple ways that end up being debilitating.

Humira hasn't helped. Remicade isn't all that great, although its allowed me to be back up on my feet again. I know there is something that is being missed by the current approach, and i hope beyond hope that we can figure this whole protein thing out, if not for me, then at least for my son (who seems to have the same issues i have).




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