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Thursday, March 23, 2023

IIT Guwahati researchers’ Protein Toolbox can boost your cardiac health

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Cardiomyocytes, or beating heart cells, generated via this tool box may perform the same functions as the original heart cells and can be utilised to heal damaged cardiac tissues.

Dr. Rajkumar P. Thummer, Assistant Professor at the Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, and Mr. Krishna Kumar Haridhasapavalan, his research scholar from the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT Guwahati) have developed a ‘Recombinant Protein Toolbox’ of six special proteins that can be used to convert healthy adult human skin cells or any somatic cells are transformed into heart cells, especially cardiomyocytes.

This toolbox’s heart cells can perform the same functions as the original heart cells and can be utilised to restore damaged cardiac tissues. Crucially, this toolkit can aid in the creation of autologous heart cells in the laboratory. A heart attack occurs when a portion of the heart is injured, which is now well known.

The only option to cure heart illness is with a new heart, but there aren’t enough of them available, and it might be difficult to ensure that the new heart is accepted by the body.

Scientists all across the world are looking at ways to turn normal body cells into heart cells, which might aid in the regeneration of injured hearts. This procedure makes use of special proteins known as transcription factors, which may change the expression of genes within a cell and lead it to adopt a new biological identity.

The IIT Guwahati team has created cell-permeant recombinant proteins capable of converting skin cells to heart cells. The IIT Guwahati researchers were able to’reprogram’ skin cells to have the features of heart cells by exposing them to these proteins. This process may be thought of as rewiring the genetic programme of skin cells to be more similar to that of heart cells.

Mr Krishna was awarded the ‘Augmenting Writing Skills for Articulating Research (AWSAR) Award 2021’ for his superb scientific writing in discussing this study.

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