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12:00 AM
 | 
Dec 20, 2004
 |  BioCentury  |  Tools & Techniques

Challenging the textbooks

Papers published last week on three novel pathways in angiogenesis, cell signaling and Parkinson's disease provide new therapeutic strategies and illustrate the rewards of continuing to explore well-trod territory.

One example is cell signaling, which has been studied in detail for about 50 years, as researchers have gradually revealed new participants in the old pathways. The accepted wisdom was that signaling is mediated by a phosphorylation process in which phosphate groups are added to or plucked from proteins by ATP and ADP, thereby triggering the stop and go signals.

Last week, researchers reported in Sciencethat they had found a novel source for the phosphate groups. Unlike ATP, the new phosphate source, known as inositol pyrophosphate (IP7), modifies proteins without any help from enzymes by binding directly to the protein and leaving behind one of its phosphates.

"We think IP7 phosphorylation of proteins is as universal as ATP phosphorylation," Solomon Snyder, senior author of the study and director of the neuroscience department at...

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