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Yuh-Ju Sun, Chwan-Deng Hsiao, Science Advances, dementia, brain calcification, membrane protein, diffraction, mutation
NSRRC Users Prof. Yuh-Ju Sun and Dr. Chwan-Deng Hsiao Solved the Mystery of Brain Calcification
Prof. Yuh-Ju Sun and her collaborator Dr. Chwan-Deng Hsiao solved the structure of membrane proteins, paving the way for a better treatment of dementia.
A research team led by the NSRRC user, Prof. Yuh-Ju Sun (Institute of Bioinformatics and Structural Biology at National Tsing Hua University) has identified the molecular mechanism of phosphate transporter, which offers a glimmer of hope for dementia treatments. Prof. Sun collaborated with another NSRRC user, Dr. Chwan-Deng Hsiao (Academia Sinica), and revealed the structure of the sodium dependent phosphate transporter. This discovery marked a significant milestone for the studies on membrane proteins, and the research result was published in the prestigious journal Science Advances in August 2020.

In the paper of Prof. Sun and Hisao “Structure of the sodium-dependent phosphate transporter reveals insights into human solute carrier SLC20”, the team used BL05A1 of Taiwan Photon Source (TPS) to collect the native and anomalous dispersion datasets, process the diffraction data and do the calculation. The team found that disease-related variants carried mutations and proposed an elevator-like mechanism for sodium and phosphate transport. This was the very first time to “see” the cause of dementia, and it could be a big step towards a cure for brain calcification. The three-dimensional structure of the membrane protein provides a framework for understanding the dysfunction of the disease, and it could be useful for drug development in the future.