Proprotein Convertases in Health and Disease
Secretory proteins, such as hormones, enzymes, and receptors, constitute a broad group of biochemically active molecules that are essential for cellular function. ….represents an evolutionary mechanism through which complex species maintain homeostasis, nimbly responding to internal and external challenges. At least five classes of proteolytic enzymes have been identified, encompassing more than 66,000 protein sequences classified into 50 clans and 184 families in accordance with their catalytic mechanisms and evolutionary lineages.
Seems everything comes back to proteins -the building blocks of life- including the way flu viruses hijack cells and how they cause disease.
Proprotein convertases (PCs) are a unique family of enzymes that turn a wide range of nonfunctional human proteins into active, functional proteins. Without them, our bodies would not be able to sustain life.
….PCs have been shown to be involved in a wide variety of disease processes. ….They may play a role in the development of various types of cancer, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, hormonal disorders, and various important infections, like influenza, anthrax, and numerous other viral and bacterial toxin diseases.
In infectious diseases, various toxins produced by bacteria need to be activated before they can become dangerous—they use PCs to become functional. Different viruses, such as influenza, Ebola, and measles, hijack PCs to complete their life cycle and reproduce in the body.
In Alzheimer’s disease, PCs are necessary for the formation of senile plaques—the brain abnormalities seen in this disorder. All of this stems from the crucial role that PCs play in activating proteins.
In fact, the biggest threat posed by pandemic flu is not the high fatality rate but rather, the chronic disease burden in survivors. Most of the world's nations are squeezed by the already out-of-control chronic disease pandemic - add another generation of flu survivors and who knows what might happen to "democracy"?
…a pandemic H5N1 pathogen, or other neurotropic influenza virus, could initiate CNS disorders of protein aggregation including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
People infected with the bird flu virus - influenza A subtype H5N1 - go through the usual symptoms of fever, aching muscles and cough. The virus is so virulent that 60% of infected humans have died. But according to a study in mice, the infection could also take a more inconspicuous toll on the brain, causing the sorts of damage that could increase the risk of diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's many years after the virus has been cleared.
…a pandemic H5N1 pathogen, or other neurotropic influenza virus, could initiate CNS disorders of protein aggregation including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. [NOTE: protein aggregation results from misfolded proteins aka prion infection.]
Vaccines target specific viruses - miss the target and you miss the boat. Unfortunately, pandemic diseases are an easy-to-miss moving target.
Proprotein convertases (PCs) are a "common denominator" in a huge variety of infections and diseases. Artenstein and Opal argue that PCs are potentially rich targets for developing therapies - and could lead to a drug able to treat a variety of problems.
We are interested in developing a therapeutic agent that could be used against a wide variety of different possible infections because frequently scientists cannot easily and rapidly identify the actual culprit in a rapidly spreading epidemic or a bioterror attack.
Therefore, it would be helpful to have a drug that treats a variety of problems.
Because PCs are a common denominator in a large number of infections, we have targeted PCs as a therapeutic strategy in our research.
Go for it. We need all the help we can get. And everyone's mucking around with proteins from Big Pharma to nanotechnology to GM and GE without regard to environmental and other effects - 'bout time someone started paying attention to public health.
(visit the link for the full news article)
edit on 3/1/12 by soficrow because: (no reason given)