Peptide Found in Sea Anemones Might Give Rise to Alzheimer’s Treatment, Study Says

Peptide Found in Sea Anemones Might Give Rise to Alzheimer’s Treatment, Study Says
Small proteins found in sea anemones can protect nerve cells from the toxic effects of beta-amyloid, a hallmark of Alzheimer's, and may one day point to a way of treating this disease, a study reports. The research, “A New Iq-Peptide of the Kunitz Type from the Heteractis magnifica Sea Anemone Exhibits Neuroprotective Activity in a Model of Alzheimer’s Disease,” was published in the Russian Journal of Bioorganic Chemistry. During a scientific marine expedition to the Seychelles, Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) researchers collected a tropical sea anemone called Heteractis magnifica. This animal contained a newly identified group of Kunitz-type peptides in its tentacles. Peptides are short chains of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, and Kunitz-type peptides are protease inhibitors, which means they block the work of enzymes that break up proteins. Using the structure of the gene coding one of such peptides, researchers synthesized the HMIQ3c1 peptide in a bacterial system (Escherichia coli) that is genetically similar (an analog) to the newly found peptide. Protease inhibitors used in science have been found in many marine invertebrates and mammals, including sea anemones. Kunitz-type inhibitors are particularly appealing because they are able to affect various cellular targets, thereby influencing diverse therapeutic targets. HMIQ3c1 belongs to a new group of so-called IQ-peptides. This compound displayed neuroprotective properties in mouse neuroblastoma (a form of brain cancer) cells subjected to toxicity induced by beta-amyloid — the major component of senile plaques in Alzheimer’s — and neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA), which causes oxidative stress and impairs cellular production of energy. HMIQ3c1 incre
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