Nature thinks of everything. A new study outlines the discovery of a family of proteins in the body–termed CUET, for Cue5/Tollip adaptors–that act as little sanitation workers, identifying cell waste and guiding it to the appropriate place for destruction or recycling. Puts curb-side pick-up in perspective.
Lysosomes are chemicals within cells that serve as individual digestive systems, processing proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. CUET proteins roam around looking for debris and lead them to the lysosomes, which can then dispense with it.
Proteins regulate metabolism, including waste
Proteins in the body are comprised of chains of amino acids. They control virtually every aspect of metabolism. Amino acids fold into intricate three-dimensional structures that are specialized for whatever activity they were meant to regulate.
The folding process can be affected by cellular and environmental stresses, resulting in misshapen aggregates. Because a warped structure isn’t recognized by cells, it can linger and accumulate, becoming toxic and sometimes leading to death of the cell. This scenario is what is believed to be responsible for neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and Alzheimer’s.
The significance of the current study is that scientists have found how the body processes cell waste; they can then continue this line of research to discover what causes the “clumping” of amino acids and maximize efficiency of CUET proteins to dispose of them properly. They found that depletion of these proteins results in toxicity whereas over-expression cleans the clumps.
CUET are cute
CUET is a combination of Tollip proteins and Cue5 proteins found in yeast. Yes, yeast. Together, they clear cells of their garbage. Tollip is the toll-taker that participates in innate immune response and Cue5 is the traffic officer that guides cells through the gates.
“Our findings highlight the Swiss-Army-knife-like property of Tollip, as the protein, in addition to its role as multitasking adaptor employed in various…protein trafficking pathways, also functions as…adaptor in the autophagy [waste removal] pathway. We propose that this feature could lead to situations in which aggregation-prone [“clumping”]…proteins…perhaps contribute to cytotoxicity and neurodegenerative diseases by interfering with other functions of the adaptor.”
An important point to note is that a common denominator of the neurodegenerative diseases mentioned is the aggregation of amino acids, presumably caused by cell and environmental stress. In this context, the “environment” is the whole body.
Here is another way in which stress in the body–caused by inflammation and foreign chemicals, among other things–promotes deterioration and prevents cells from behaving the ways in which they were designed to behave.
Help the CUET by Becoming Clump-free.
We can be proactive in addressing the causes that lead to these horrendous diseases through diet and lifestyle. Research has exposed contributing factors of Parkinson’s disease, as well as ways to ameliorate them.
Incidence of Alzheimer’s disease may be partially genetic, but that does’t mean we have to develop it. Cut out refined sugar, eat sesame seeds, and you’ll stave off Huntington’s disease. Become physically and mentally active and every cell in your body benefits.
We can think of few things more frightening than losing cognitive ability, becoming unable to perform simply daily tasks, being self-sufficient, and recognizing a loved one. The current research has opened a door to determining the chemical factors that contribute to neurological disease but we already know what’s bad for us. We need to start doing more of what’s good for us.