AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 29, Number 2, 2020


SLU Researchers Discover Structure of Protein Associated with Inflammation, Parkinson’s Disease

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Study Overturns Previous Ideas about Enzyme Linked to Many Illnesses


Saint Louis University scientists report that they have determined the structure of a key protein that is involved in the body’s inflammatory response. This finding opens the door to developing new treatments for a wide range of illnesses, from heart disease, diabetes and cancer to neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson’s disease.

Sergey Korolev, Ph.D., associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at SLU, studies protein structures at the atomic resolution level to understand mechanism of their function in the body.

Korolev and his team examined a long-studied but little-understood enzyme, calcium-independent phospholipase A2?, (iPLA2?) that cleaves phospholipids in membrane. It produces important signals after injury to initiate the inflammatory response. The team wanted to know how the enzyme is activated during injury, how it hydrolyses substrates and how it gets shut down, turning the inflammatory response off.

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