Mon, Feb 27, 2017 | updated 04:44 PM IST

Study uses Thai water bug to understand working of human heart

Updated: Oct 01, 2016 14:35 IST

Washington D.C.[USA], Oct. 1 (ANI): In a recent research, scientists have studied a rare Thai water bug for a better insight into how the heart muscle works and how sometimes it fails. The breakthrough finding could also lead to novel treatments for cardiomyopathy in the future.

Lead researcher Taylor and his team used an electron microscope to capture the first three-dimensional image of a tiny filament, or strand, of an essential muscle that the palm-sized water bug Lethocerus indicus, uses to fly.

This filament is made of chains of a protein called myosin, which produce the power needed to contract muscles.

This image shows for the first time the individual molecules in the filament in a relaxed state, which is necessary to re-extend muscles.

"After you contract your bicep to see if your muscles look like Arnold Schwarzenegger's, you need this filament to assume its relaxed structure, so that after contraction your tricep muscle can re-extend your bicep," Taylor said.

Scientists have long examined the flight muscles from Lethocerus indicus as a way to better understand how the human heart works.

Both the insect's flight muscle and a mammal's heart beat rhythmically.

Mutations causing many inherited heart muscle diseases have been identified but are difficult to study in mammals because the heart is essential to life. However, these mutations can be studied in insects, specifically through this filament.

Mutations that alter myosin function even slightly can have cumulative effects in a muscle contracting rhythmically.

While capturing a clear picture of this exact filament has been difficult, improved technology allowed Taylor and his fellow researchers to record an amazingly detailed image showing the precise filament structure.

All muscles have two types of filaments, actin and myosin.

The chief difference between actin and myosin is that myosin has two parts, a molecular motor and a very long rod.

The rods from many myosin molecules form the filament backbone. When a muscle contracts, molecular motors on the myosin filament grab and pull on the actin filaments causing the muscle to shorten.

The packing of the myosin rods within the backbone must be strong enough to sustain this force.

With this new image, scientists can see how the molecular motors are arranged to prevent contact with the actin filament facilitating the muscle's re-extension.

At the same time they can see the tight packing of the myosin rods much "like a bamboo forest," Taylor said.

"The image answers a whole lot of questions about myosin filaments that scientists have been wondering about for decades," he said.

The discovery is even more important because mutations in myosin can cause cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle. About one-third of myosin mutations that cause cardiomyopathies occur in the rod.

"Many of these cardiomyopathy mutations may be understandable in terms of flawed muscle relaxation. This detailed image shakes up the muscle field," Taylor said.

Now, Taylor and his team will boost the resolution of these images so they can clearly see individual amino acids and accurately determine the key interactions between them.

"We study insect flight muscle because it is a simpler route to understanding human disease. Ultimately, we must understand human disease from either human filaments or at least mammalian filaments," he said.

The research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association and published in Science Advances journal. (ANI)

New clues found for nuclear waste cleanup

Updated: Feb 24, 2017 09:35 IST

Washington D.C. (USA), Feb. 24 (ANI): According to a study, the research being done on the chemistry of technetium-99 has boosted the understanding of the challenging nuclear waste and can lead to better cleanup methods.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [US], Feb. 24 (ANI): US researchers have suggested that specially trained dogs can be used to find wide-ranging species that are often threatened, sepecially cheetah in a region of Western Zambia.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 23(ANI): NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.

Full Story >>

Noida (Uttar Pradesh) [India], Feb.22 (ANI): Germany's Alexander von Humboldt (AvH) Foundation has handed over equipment worth € 20, 000 to Amity University for accelerating research initiatives.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. (USA), Feb 21 (ANI): The world's first battery to use only hydronium ions as the charge carrier has been been developed by scientists.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. (USA), Feb. 21 (ANI): According to a new study, Carnegie's Stephen Elardo and Anat Shahar shows that interactions between iron and nickel under the extreme pressures and temperatures similar to a planetary interior can help scientists understand the period in our Solar System's youth when planets were forming and their cores were created.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 18 (ANI): To boost breeding of endangered poultry breeds, Briton researchers have come up with gene-editing techniques for the rare breeds to use them as surrogates that cannot produce their own chicks.

Full Story >>

Meet 'Bernardbowen'- the new minor planet

Updated: Feb 18, 2017 07:00 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 18 (ANI): In a major development, a team of scientists have officially named a minor planet as 'Bernardbowen' that sits in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Full Story >>

New York [USA], Feb. 17 (ANI): NASA has called on the world to help it in the search for the new ninth planet, as anyone from a kindergartener to a 95-year-old, can participate in their new project to find the not-yet-discovered celestial body.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 9 (ANI): To cut down the number of traffic fatalities, drive less!

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 8 (ANI): According to an international team of astronomers led by researchers from University Of Cambridge, the Magellanic Clouds, the two largest satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, appear to be connected by a bridge stretching across 43,000 light years.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 25 (ANI): A team of researchers have discovered prehistoric wolf-sized otter fossils with a large head and a powerful jaw, weighing around 100 pounds, in China's Yunnan province.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 25 (ANI): A study finds that early identification of hearing loss in newborn due to a disease or physical abnormality by birth may help them in better language outcomes as they grow.

Full Story >>

Chennai [India], Jan.14 (ANI-Businesswire India): While "Jallikattu" seems to be the trending topic of discussion in Tamil Nadu at the moment, a silent revolution envisioned by youth icon and late Former President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam has quietly gained momentum. Ignite-India is a nation-wide innovation platform for student innovators and young entrepreneurs in high schools and colleges. Founded by International swimmer Agnishwar Jayaprakash in 2014, the organization has designed & hosted 96 Regional Innovation Conferences and 3 National Innovation Conferences across 36 cities in India where students competed to showcased their innovative creations. These innovations were judged based on the practicality, creativity & sustainability by technical experts from diverse fields.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Jan. 13 (ANI): New computer simulations have shown that tiny droplets of sulphuric acid resulted in long-lasting cooling, which was a likely contributor to the death of land-living dinosaurs.

Full Story >>

New human organ in digestive system discovered

Updated: Jan 05, 2017 06:27 IST

New Delhi [India], Jan. 5 (ANI): Scientists have discovered what they are calling a new human organ that exists in the digestive system.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], January 4 (ANI): Songbirds divorce, pack up and leave and miss their best chances for successful reproduction, courtesy suburban development.

Full Story >>

How do conch shells have such huge variety?

Updated: Jan 04, 2017 05:52 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], January 4 (ANI): Conch shells and its varied shapes and size have always been something that has captivated the eyes of collectors.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Dec. 31 (ANI): A new study finds that despite English being considered the common language of global science, over 30 percent of new scientific reports are published other languages due to which many major findings have been overlooked.

Full Story >>