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Heart study: Previously unknown Mini-proteins are the fuel for the heart

Mystery of the energy of the heart, solved

Our heart always holds many secrets. How does the body to supply every cell of our body with energy? The answer to this question recently delivered a German research team. They discovered a previously unknown group of Mini-proteins, the heart uses to produce energy. The revolutionary discovery could lead to a number of new heart therapies.

The human heart is part of many medical researches. Diseases of the probably the most important Organ of our body, are in Germany for more than a third of all deaths. Nevertheless, the exact function is still not precisely deciphered. Researchers of the Max Delbrück center for Molecular medicine, made a sensational discovery. You decrypted a kind of heart-Motor. A number of small Mini-proteins, which were previously completely unknown, therefore the energy production of the heart is responsible. The results of the study were recently presented in the prestigious scientific journal “Cell”.

New discovery could revolutionize the treatment of heart disease

Today, we still know surprisingly little about why the heart sometimes does what it is supposed to do. 56 Researchers have brought more light into the darkness. They studied the cellular protein factories in the heart cells. They discovered a group of previously unknown proteins, which play a significant role in the energy production of the heart. The Team looks in the new micro-proteins, the key to the healing of heart diseases based on a disturbed energy metabolism.

The power stations of the heart

The focus of the research work, the protein factories of the heart, Ellen, you were. The so-called ribosomes assemble individual amino acids in proteins. The blueprints for these proteins are stored in DNA. The detailed Instructions on how the proteins are put together, will be referred to the ribosomes via messenger substances, the Messenger RNA (mRNA). “We have now determined, using a still-young technology, the ribosome-Profiling or short-Ribo-Seq, for the first Time, not only in isolated cells, but in the intact human heart tissue, to go to which positions the mRNA on the ribosome,” explains first author Dr. Sebastiaan van Heesch from the MDC working group in a press release of the study results.

Fuel the heart cells discovered

“Special Algorithms, we were able to calculate then, what are the proteins formed during Translation in the heart,” says van Heesch. In this way, the researchers discovered, there are many unknown Mini-proteins. Using special microscopic techniques, the Team were able to observe, then, that more than half of the newly discovered micro-proteins migrate to their production in the power plants of cells (mitochondria). “This means that you are apparently required for the energy production of the heart,” concludes study leader Professor Norbert Hübner.

Exclusively for people?

“Since many heart diseases go back to the error in the energy metabolism, we were interested in this result, of course,” said Hübner. He wants to jointly decrypt with his colleagues on the role of the new micro-proteins in more detail. The Mini-proteins seem to exist only in the human heart. In studies in mice, the heart, the research team has not been able to find. “It seems to be that these proteins are evolutionarily relatively young substances,” says van Heesch. These micro-proteins showed once again how special the human heart. The research group hopes that these findings can be used for the diagnosis and therapy of heart diseases based on a disturbed energy metabolism of the heart. (vb)