Some people suffer from collagen deficiencies, while others suffer from excess collagen.
However, there may be a new way to treat these conditions.
Collagen production is essential to a healthy life and collagen imbalance is linked to several diseases.
However, researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology have found an enzyme that controls how much collagen we produce.
Our cells secrete proteins, including collagen – the most abundant protein in our body.
Our cells use “vesicles” called COPII carriers to transport proteins.
Most studies have focused on small “cargo” (proteins), but thanks to a study on the workings of large carriers that package large proteins like collagen, researchers have identified a key enzyme related to collagen.
The key enzyme, USP8, is involved in the formation of large collagen carriers.
When the enzyme is “switched on” collage secretion is inhibited and when it is “switched off” collagen secretion increases.
These findings have big implications in the world of biotechnology and medicine.
Too much collagen secretion causes organ fibrosis and too little leads to bone diseases.
These new findings could help in the development of new treatments and new ways to scale up commercial production of collagen.
Not only did their research lead to possible new ways to treat collagen deficiencies, but it may lead to other discoveries.
Since USP8 belongs to a family of around 90 known deubiquitinating enzymes, there may be more surprises and discoveries to come.
You can look at their findings in the journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.