Saturday, November 21, 2015

First cure for chronic intestinal disease?

There has never been a known cure for chronic intestinal diseases, but data from Professor Sandhya Visweswariah found an gene associated with a rare intestinal disease. It started when Dr. Torunn Fiskerstand, an associate professor of science at Haukeland University Hospital, isolated DNA from a family with a history of severe dehydration in an eight degrees Celsius environment in April, which is when people are typically not dehydrated. Fiskerland found that every family member was infected by an intestinal disease that was not recorded in literature. More research pointed out that the disease was caused by a gene called the guanylyl cyclase C (GC-C). Dr. Fiskerstrand asked help from Professor Sandhya Visweswariah, a scientist from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, because she was one of the lead professionals in the study of this gene.

One of Visweswariah's doctoral students, Najla Arshad, characterized the GC-C protein as a regulator of ions and water into the intestinal cavity. David Garbers, the former director of the Green Centre for Reproductive Biology at UT Southwestern Medical Centre in Texsas during the 1990's, found that peptides bind to the GC-C proteins in human organs to form receptor guanylate cyclases, which have the ability to bind to multiple peptides, including toxins called baterial enterotoxins. These toxins binding to the proteins result in the release of water and ions, and therefore diarrhea.

Cycle of the Guanylate Cyclases
Visweswariah and her team found that the receptor proteins would have options of being always off, always on, or hyperactive. They also found that the disease is not inheritable because there are other intestinal diseases that are caused by the same gene, but the parents of the children with the disease show no symptoms. There is further research to be done, but Visweswariah and her team believe that with this research in the GC-C protein, they can find a solution to preventing and curing chronic intestinal diseases.

First Article

Second Article

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