News from IMIM
A study published in the prestigious journal Scientific Reports from the Nature group demonstrates, for the first time and using computational tools, that polyunsaturated lipids can alter the binding rate of two types of receivers involved in certain nervous system diseases. The work was led by members of the Research Programme on Biomedical Informatics at the IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute) and Pompeu Fabra University as well as researchers from the University of Tampere (Finland), and also involved scientists from the University of Barcelona.
Using latest-generation molecular simulations, which are like “computational microscopes”, the researchers have demonstrated that a decrease in polyunsaturated lipids in neuronal membranes, as seen in Parkinson's and Alzheimer's sufferers, directly affects the binding rate of dopamine and adenosine receptors. These are part of the family of receptors connected to the G protein (GPCR), located in the cell membrane and responsible for transmitting signals to within the cell.
According to Jana Selent, a researcher from the PharmacoInformatics group at the IMIM and UPF “It has recently been discovered that the protein complex formed by the binding of dopamine and adenosine receivers, two key GPCRs in diverse cerebral processes, could be a potential therapeutic target in neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Our study suggests that polyunsaturated lipids like DHA are able to modulate the speed at which this protein complex forms, and that could in turn affect its function”.
Ramon Guixà-González, Matti Javanainen, Maricel Gómez-Soler, Begoña Cordobilla, Joan Carles Domingo, Ferran Sanz, Manuel Pastor, Francisco Ciruela, Hector Martinez-Seara, Jana Selent. Membrane omega-3 fatty acids modulate the oligomerisation kinetics of adenosine A2A and dopamine D2 receptors. 2016 Scientific Reports 6:19839.