Researchers solve 100-year-old mystery of what activates magnesium ions in the cell

Magnesium energetics
This illustration depicts the exercise-induced surge of the metabolite lactate (seen in red, black and white) from skeletal muscle (shown as a factory) into liver cells. The lactate surge elicits release of magnesium ions (seen as green balls) from cellular storehouses called the endoplasmic reticulum (depicted as a rock outcrop in the water). The magnesium ions release as waves that are funneled into energy centers called mitochondria (depicted as a boat) through a transporter called Mrs2 (depicted as fishermen). Cover image courtesy Sarah Bussey Artistry. Concept by Travis Madaris.

Researchers from UT Health San Antonio have solved the 100-year-old mystery of what activates magnesium ions in the cell. The discovery is expected to be a springboard for future development of novel drugs to treat cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders such as diabetes and other diseases.

Reporting in Cell, scientists in the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine said the magnesium activator is a metabolite called lactate, which is elevated in the blood during intense exercise and in many diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, sepsis and cancer.

“Lactate is a signal that – like a light switch – turns on magnesium ions,” said lead author Madesh Muniswamy, PhD, professor of cardiology in the Long School of Medicine. “On lactate’s signal, the ions rush out of cellular storehouses called the endoplasmic reticulum.”

Read the full news release.



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