'Super' enzyme protects against dangers of oxygen

January 29, 2013, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

(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: Cellular metabolism self-adapts to protect against free radicals

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

Related Stories

Genetics of ALS progression

June 1, 2008

An upcoming paper in the June 1 issue of G&D, from Drs. Hidenori Ichijo and Hideki Nishitoh (University of Tokyo) and colleagues, lends new and valuable insight into the genetics of ALS.

Recommended for you

After a reset, Сuriosity is operating normally

February 23, 2019

NASA's Curiosity rover is busy making new discoveries on Mars. The rover has been climbing Mount Sharp since 2014 and recently reached a clay region that may offer new clues about the ancient Martian environment's potential ...

Study: With Twitter, race of the messenger matters

February 23, 2019

When NFL player Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice, the ensuing debate took traditional and social media by storm. University of Kansas researchers have ...

Solving the jet/cocoon riddle of a gravitational wave event

February 22, 2019

An international research team including astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has combined radio telescopes from five continents to prove the existence of a narrow stream of material, ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

2.3 / 5 (3) 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.
5 / 5 (1) Jan 29, 2013
^^ Same, I use Astaxaxanthin as well for that same reason.
1 / 5 (2) Jan 29, 2013
I think you really mean this one:-

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

not rated yet Jan 29, 2013
That picture is the best thing I've seen all day.
1 / 5 (2) Jan 29, 2013
I think you really mean this one:-

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.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.