Dec 1, 2008    #111
Contact: John Austin

Ongoing research leads UMKC scientist to potential breakthrough School of Nursing’s Marco Brotto and fellow researchers discover muscle-repairing gene

Researchers at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Nursing and the Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine (RWJSM) have identified a previously unreported gene that may hold great potential in promoting the repair of damaged muscle. Results of their most recent study have been published in a paper that appears in the December issue of “Nature Cell Biology,” one of the world’s leading scientific journals devoted to molecular and cell biology.

“This is a completely new, previously unstudied gene, and one that shows great clinical potential in treating damaged muscle,” said study co-author Marco Brotto, B.S.N., M.S., Ph.D., associate professor of Nursing, Medicine and Biological Sciences and Director of the Muscle Biology Group (MUBIG) at UMKC. The gene, Mitsugumin 53 (MG53), participates in and promotes acute muscle repair, working in concert with free radicals (oxidation) to promote tissue repair.

Brotto and longtime collaborator Dr. Jianjie Ma at RWJSM, along with researchers in Japan, made the MG53 discovery as part of their ongoing research into the mechanisms of muscle aging and repair. Previous results have garnered global attention from the scientific community, including a recent paper published in “Aging Cell,” an internationally renowned journal that focuses on the biology of aging, and a presentation at the annual scientific meeting of the American Heart Association in November 2008. The research team has another paper currently being reviewed for publication and hopes to have at least one more paper submitted by the end of the year, Brotto said.

He added that, although further study is needed, preliminary experiments indicate MG53 may have an even broader impact beyond basic muscle repair.

“Because MG53 is naturally found only in cardiac and skeletal muscles, its reparative qualities provide a completely new model for exploring possible treatments for muscle and cardiovascular diseases, including muscular dystrophy, cardiomyopathy and age-related muscle deterioration,” Brotto said.

Brotto and his MUBIG-UMKC colleagues — Drs. Jon Andresen, Leticia Brotto, Tina Hines and Michael Wacker — have also started to explore some of the implications of his current work.

“We are working closely with Dr. Ma and his team to explore other cell and tissue models,” Brotto said. “We hope this work will lead to some exciting new discoveries in 2009.”

Following is the link to the complete article on the "Nature Cell Biology" website: MG53 nucleates assembly of cell membrane repair machinery.


The UMKC Muscle Biology Group (MUBIG) is an interdisciplinary team of researchers working together to study the signaling pathways linked to decline in muscle function with aging, fatigue, obesity, diabetes, muscular dystrophies and cardiovascular diseases.

About UMKC

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Celebrating 75 years, UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience.

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