Japan Team Finds Detailed Cellular Mechanism to Cope with Stress

Society Lifestyle

Tokyo, May 3 (Jiji Press)--A team at Japanese government-affiliated research institute Riken has discovered details of a mechanism in which human cells temporarily stop protein synthesis in order to cope with stress.

Members of the Riken team, including its leader, Takuhiro Ito, announced the finding in the Friday edition of U.S. journal Science.

Unless the mechanism functions well, neurodegenerative diseases or other health problems could occur. The team's discovery is expected to help develop therapies for such illnesses.

Human cells normally synthesize proteins based on genetic information in a process called "translation."

When exposed to ultraviolet or other forms of stress, human cells suspend the translation and preserve energy. In the mechanism, a protein called eIF2, which usually works to facilitate the translation, is phosphorylated to curb the translation process.

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