When trace elements rise to toxic levels, bad things happen. Patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease harbor significantly higher levels of zinc and iron in their brains than healthy patients. Those with pancreatic cancer have an unusually high amount of a specific zinc transporter. So, controlling those levels could be an effective plan of attack against these diseases and others, said Jian Hu, Michigan State University biochemist.
Hu and a team of MSU scientists have revealed a key structure of a molecular machine, a ZIP zinc transporter. Mapping the core of a bacterial ZIP – another celebrated first by Hu’s lab – exposes its framework and mechanisms that are common in the ZIP family consisting, which comprises thousands of metal transporters. Read more . . .