In the specific, we talk about the cell membrane, the mosaic composed of a phospholipid bilayer (mostly fatty acids) which protects the cell and ensures the effective operation with the environment that it concerns: from the inside and from the outside.
I make a quick digression on why the cell membrane is the unquestioned leader of this study. Also to better understand the role played by the protein interaction with the cell membrane. And know the ‘how’ (from their rapid and steady “encounter” near contact) can then be born annoying and debilitating inflammatory processes (of various kinds), hormonal dysfunction, responses to pain and autoimmune diseases.
If anyone is interested in who is the entity that finances research, just go to the website of the European Commission, and see page destines for Research and Innovation. In this case is the Large Infrastructure Research: http://ec.europa.eu/research/infrastructures/index_en.cfm?pg=what
Well, I was saying that the cell membrane, thanks to the double phospholipid layer allows the free passage of water and gas (O2, CO2) and small water-soluble molecules (free of charge), such as glycerol, ammonia, ethanol, urea .. While it is committed to doing the “watchful” of the situation, its colleagues proteins go to aid. They act almost like private autiste (in the face of those who still believe in work roles) and with their supervision in the transportation, ensure the passage of ions and water-soluble molecules (electrically charged).
Thanks to European funds, donated to carry out this experimental study in biochemistry, scientists are trying to modify in advance the activities of enzymes (biological catalysts, prepared to decrease the response time and interaction between the different processes involved in cellular communication) to enable them to create new substances.
Science fiction? Of course not! and here comes the fun …
Prof. Enrico Dainese, coordinator of the research team of the University of Teramo has opted for the use of the synchrotron, as a tool by the shape similar to a diamond and well collimated (focused) when its ray of light It must direzionarsi on proteins that are currently in analysis.
Synchrotron light (emitted from the Diamond, which heads the ‘Harwell Science and Innovation Campus’ of Didcot based in the green lands of Oxfordshire) hits the proteins specifically and shows the specific structure and relationship to the cell membrane, that by its turn is both involved in many chain enzymatic reactions.
For now the teams of scientists involved in this projects are in train to study the relationship between the cell membrane and three key enzymes:
- Lipoxygenase: the protein involved in inflammation and allergic responses
- Aromatase: the protein responsible for the production of female hormones; often involved in reproduction and fertility processes.
- FAAH (fatty acid amid hydrolase): protein involved in a number of brain functions, including the individual’s response to pain.
The goal is to try to have the analytical results that substantiate the hypothesis of membrane-protein, membrane-cell, cell-cell essential interactions.
A point from which it will be possible to develop solutions and treatment plans for patients presenting complex clinical cases. But it is not an issue that involve just them, because the protagonists are the researchers who devote their lives to the analysis and design of innovative solutions; as well as the families of patients who are involved in the management of the disease – both in process and healing – to which this study hopes to give valuable feedback and new hopes.
After all, that’s what innovation aims: to create prospects for future development.
To grow together, starting with what is achievable and manifest in a scientific key.