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Argonne, WVU partner to advance medical treatment for life-threatening conditions

Research findings may improve the efficacy of medications that treat such conditions as diabetes, dementia and stroke. (Image by Shutterstock/Itsanan.)

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory collaborated with a research team from West Virginia University (WVU), Morgantown to investigate the human protein mitoNEET. What they learned promises to advance understanding in treating stroke, diabetes and dementia.

Knowing that medications attach to proteins similar to the way spacecraft dock into a space station, the WVU team isolated samples of mitoNEET and exposed them to a common diuretic medication. Then, using the ultrabright, high-energy X-ray beams at Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source (APS), a DOE Office of Science user facility, the team mapped the crystal structure of the protein and determined how the drug attached itself to it. The WVU team performed this work remotely using the APS.

Understanding mitoNEET’s cellular function could allow scientists to increase a medication’s effectiveness by tightening its bond to the protein. This holds the promise of improving the performance of medications that work to bring relief in patients diagnosed with stroke, diabetes or dementia.

The APS is a DOE Office of Science user facility.