'Super' enzyme protects against dangers of oxygen

Jan 29, 2013

(Phys.org)—Just like a comic book super hero, you could say that the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD1) has a secret identity. Since its discovery in 1969, scientists believed SOD1's only role was to protect living cells against damage from free radicals. Now, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have discovered that SOD1 protects cells by regulating cell energy and metabolism. The results of their research were published January 17, 2013, in the journal Cell.

Transforming oxygen to energy for growth is key to life for all living cells, which happens either through or fermentation. When oxygen is plentiful, respiration normally takes over; however certain cells fail to respire in spite of abundant oxygen and instead ferment, leading to —a hallmark of cancer.

Using the baker's yeast S. cerevisiae as well as a human cell line, researchers Valeria C. Culotta, PhD, and colleague Amit Reddi from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology determined that SOD1 transmits signals from oxygen and glucose to repress respiration. This signaling is accomplished through SOD1 protection of another enzyme known as casein kinase 1-gamma (CK1γ), which is an important key to the switch between respiration and fermentation.

"SOD enzymes are present in virtually all , from the most to every cell in the human body," explained Culotta. "I've been telling my students to think of SOD1 as a superhero. It not only defends cells from damaging , but also has a secret life as a guardian of cell energy and metabolism."

"Our findings provide new clues as to how rapidly dividing cells—from yeast to human cancers—may escape the urge to respire and instead choose fermentation to promote rapid growth," said Culotta.

"SOD1 has long been recognized as an important enzyme in protection from oxidative stress, but this work establishes an important new function for the enzyme in cellular metabolism," said Vernon Anderson, PhD, of the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which partly funded the study. "The results provide important insight into how SOD1 and oxygen radicals push cellular energy metabolism towards , a feature of some disease states, including cancer."

Explore further: Researchers uncover secrets of internal cell fine-tuning

More information: "SOD1 Integrates Signals from Oxygen and Glucose to Repress Respiration" www.sciencedirect.com/science/… ii/S0092867412014341

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User comments : 5

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Telekinetic
3 / 5 (2) Jan 29, 2013
There are a number of "SOD" products in the vitamin supplement market which I've used and have been unimpressed with. I've opted to use astaxanthin instead, which has a noticeable effect.
Tenche
5 / 5 (1) Jan 29, 2013
^^ Same, I use Astaxaxanthin as well for that same reason.
Mike_Massen
1 / 5 (1) Jan 29, 2013
I think you really mean this one:-
http://en.wikiped...axanthin

However, restricted for use in animal foods, why is that do you think ?

axemaster
not rated yet Jan 29, 2013
That picture is the best thing I've seen all day.
Telekinetic
1 / 5 (1) Jan 29, 2013
I think you really mean this one:-
http://en.wikiped...axanthin

However, restricted for use in animal foods, why is that do you think ?


Astaxanthin is doing a brisk business for human use- recommended at 8 mg.'s/day. One company is recommending 12 mg.'s/day. It's touted as a much more efficient free radical quencher than Vitamins C & E. I found that it prevents sunburn in the summer.