Danish researchers have determined the three-dimensional structure of the proteolytic enzyme PAPP-A. The results may allow us to better understand the basic biology that regulates linear growth of vertebrates. The same regulatory mechanisms are also involved in several age-related diseases, and thus, the research is an important step towards the development of novel types of drugs.
Humans and zebrafish have more in common than you would think. Therefore, zebrafish are used more and more, for example, to study the function of genes, to create animal models for human diseases and to develop new human drugs.
The stanniocalcin-2 protein is very important for cellular growth, and a team of researchers has now discovered how it works. This could be significant for understanding growth in tissue such as cancer cells.
By using zebrafish as a model organism, Danish researchers have now found a novel function of PAPP-A, which regulates the earliest embryonic development. The protein PAPP-A is normally associated with pregnancy, where the concentration in the blood is reduced if the woman is carrying a child with Down’s syndrome. But even though the measurement of PAPP-A in early pregnancy is widespread for diagnostic use, there are large gaps in our knowledge of PAPP-A.