MG53 protein shown to be useful for treating traumatic tissue damage

June 21, 2012

Throughout the lifecycle, injury to the body’s cells occurs naturally, as well as through trauma. Cells have the ability to repair and regenerate themselves, but a defect in the repair process can lead to cardiovascular, neurological, muscular or pulmonary diseases. Recent discoveries of key genes that control cell repair have advanced the often painstaking search for ways to enhance the repair process.

A new study by researchers from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School reports that the protein MG53, previously shown to be the key initiator in the cell membrane , has the potential to be used directly as a therapeutic approach to treating traumatic . The research, published today, is featured on the cover of Science Translational Medicine.

“We studied the use of MG53 in treating muscular dystrophy by targeting the protein directly to the damaged muscle. The direct application of MG53 slowed the development of the disease by repairing damaged muscle membranes,” said Noah Weisleder, PhD, assistant professor of physiology and biophysics and corresponding author of the study. “Our findings also suggest that MG53 could be used in regenerative medicine to treat other human diseases in which traumatic cell injury occurs.”

The study established methods to produce MG53 protein for use as a drug in different formulations that were effective when applied both inside and outside of damaged cells. Evidence showed that MG53 initiated repair to cell membranes in striated muscles, where it occurs naturally, but also initiated repair mechanisms outside of the muscle cells, providing protection to the tissue and slowing progression of disease. Additional research as part of this study found that the application of the protein as a therapy is safe.

MG53 was discovered in 2008 by Jianjie Ma, PhD, professor and acting chair of physiology and biophysics at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, who was the first to specifically pinpoint that the protein was responsible for promoting cell repair.

“We believe this new research could translate into therapeutic treatment for a broad range of diseases, including heart attack, lung injury and kidney disease, as well as muscular dystrophy,” said Dr. Ma, who oversaw this study. “Before clinical trials can begin, we must complete the pre-clinical studies that include additional safety tests and production of MG53 protein that can be used in human patients as a therapeutic drug.”

The study was conducted in conjunction with TRIM-edicine, a privately held biotechnology company spun-off from UMDNJ and created to commercialize the development of novel biopharmaceutical products in which Dr. Ma and Dr. Weisleder hold an interest. The research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an NIH Small Business Research Grant, and the Jain Foundation.

Explore further: Naturally produced protein could boost brain repair

Related Stories

Naturally produced protein could boost brain repair

January 10, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Scientists from the Medical Research Council (MRC) have discovered that a protein produced by blood vessels in the brain could be used to help the brain repair itself after injury or disease.

Stem cells, signaling pathways identified in lung repair

October 11, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Researchers at National Jewish Health have identified cells and signaling molecules that trigger the repair of injured lungs. Stijn De Langhe, PhD, and his colleagues report October 10, 2011, online in ...

Recommended for you

Researchers find infectious prions in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease patient skin

November 22, 2017
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD)—the human equivalent of mad cow disease—is caused by rogue, misfolded protein aggregates termed prions, which are infectious and cause fatal damages in the patient's brain. CJD patients ...

Surprising roles for muscle in tissue regeneration, study finds

November 22, 2017
A team of researchers at Whitehead has illuminated an important role for different subtypes of muscle cells in orchestrating the process of tissue regeneration. In a paper published in the November 22 issue of Nature, they ...

Study reveals new mechanisms of cell death in neurodegenerative disorders

November 22, 2017
Researchers at King's College London have discovered new mechanisms of cell death, which may be involved in debilitating neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

How rogue immune cells cross the blood-brain barrier to cause multiple sclerosis

November 21, 2017
Drug designers working on therapeutics against multiple sclerosis should focus on blocking two distinct ways rogue immune cells attack healthy neurons, according to a new study in the journal Cell Reports.

New simple test could help cystic fibrosis patients find best treatment

November 21, 2017
Several cutting-edge treatments have become available in recent years to correct the debilitating chronic lung congestion associated with cystic fibrosis. While the new drugs are life-changing for some patients, they do not ...

Researchers discover key signaling protein for muscle growth

November 20, 2017
Researchers at the University of Louisville have discovered the importance of a well-known protein, myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MyD88), in the development and regeneration of muscles. Ashok Kumar, Ph.D., ...

0 comments

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.