In multiple sclerosis (MS), macrophages and microglia play a dual role that could be used to treat this neurodegenerative disease. These cells promote inflammation that demyelinates neurons but also sweep away the debris of damaged myelin and produce neurotrophic factors that would allow its restoration. According to a group of scientists from the University of Hasselt in Belgium, damage or repair depends on a double switch that combines the action of two enzymes, one that desaturates and another that elongates fatty acids. By reducing the levels of these enzymes, phagocytic cells would replenish the myelin instead of engulfing it.
Researchers have developed an algorithm that was able to create functional enzymes from scratch after being trained with the amino acid sequences of existing enzymes in the same class. Researchers from the University of California at San Francisco described their method online in Nature Biotechnology on Jan. 26, 2023. The method, which its creators have named Progen, can generate “protein sequences with a predictable function across large protein families,” according to the authors.
Tyrosine kinase SYK (spleen tyrosine kinase), an enzyme involved in immune signaling, could play a key role in Alzheimer's disease (AD), multiple sclerosis (MS), and other neurodegenerative diseases, according to a study from the University of Virginia (UVA). SYK regulates the activity of microglia, preventing the accumulation of secretions associated with AD or MS produced in these pathologies.