Legame SLA e Alghe azzurre

A recently identified link between a toxic amino acid found in blue-green algae and several motor neuron diseases could help researchers devise a therapy for the fatal conditions.

Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria),  most often associated with nutrient runoff in coastal waters, produce a neurotoxic amino acid called β-methylamino-L-alanine, or BMAA.

Australian waterways regularly succumb to toxic algal blooms, the NSW’s Barwon-Darling River System suffering one of the world’s largest in the summer of 1991-92 when a bloom spread for over 1000 kilometres.

There has been increasing evidence of a link between motor neuron disease and the consumption of food or water contaminated by blue-green algae but it wasn’t clear how the algal toxin was damaging the central nervous system.

Now, University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) researchers led by Dr Ken Rodgers, in collaboration with leading ethno botanist Dr Paul Cox and researchers from the Institute of EthnoMedicine in Wyoming in the US, have discovered that BMAA mimics an amino acid called serine that is used to make human proteins. BMAA is mistakenly incorporated into human proteins in place of serine, resulting in damaged proteins which over time, build up to toxic levels and kill the cells.

The research findings are published today in the journal PLOS ONE.  The first author of the paper, Dr Rachael Dunlop, said for many years people had linked BMAA with an increased risk of motor neuron disease.

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http://www.newsfix.ca/2013/11/16/breakthrough-discovery-links-blue-green-algae-motor-neuron-disease/

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