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New technology offers insight into cholesterol

Advanced techniques developed by the Copenhagen Center for Glycomics at the University of Copenhagen makes it possible to study cells in greater detail than ever before.

The findings have just been published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry and may, in the long term, improve the treatment of high cholesterol. The researchers have studied an important receptor protein called LDLR using new, groundbreaking techniques. The protein plays an important role in the absorption of the bad cholesterol, LDL.

Researchers have now studied how LDLR is decorated with sugar molecules, so-called glycosylation modifications.

“We have not previously had a simple method for studying where glycosylation modifications are located on proteins in the body, because the sugars are very complicated and appear in different combinations. By removing the Cosmc protein, which is necessary for extending the sugar modifications, we have created cells with simplified glycosylations, which we call SimpleCells. The technique has enabled us to see 20 times as many sugar modifications on our proteins as were previously known,” says PhD Nis Borbye Pedersen, formerly postdoc at the Copenhagen Center for Glycomics, now postdoc at the Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen.

The researchers from the Copenhagen Center for Glycomics are now conducting new studies which indicate that the presence or not of sugar modifications on the receptor protein LDLR does have a functional impact. The new results may play a role in the future treatment of cholesterol.

 

Source: University of Copenhagen

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