Pharmacology and Neuroscience
Dr. J. Barry Lombardini - Joint Appointment
Professor of Pharmacology
Ph.D., 1968, University of California, San Francisco
Role of Taurine in Mammalian Tissues
Taurine, 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, is present in high concentrations in all mammalian
tissues. However, the function of taurine is not known. In our laboratory we are currently
investigating the effects of taurine on ATP-dependent calcium ion uptake and protein
phosphorylation in the retina of the rat. While other investigators are responsible
for the initial observation that taurine stimulates calcium ion uptake, we have correlated
an inhibitory effect of taurine on protein phosphorylation with the stimulatory effect
on calcium ion uptake. In our model, calcium ion uptake in the mitochondria is ATP-dependent.
ATP also activates a kinase which phosphorylates a gate. The gate is open when phosphorylated
and thus allows calcium ions to back-flow to the outside with the concentration gradient.
The regulatory effect of taurine is to inhibit the kinase system thereby closing the
gate and thus preventing calcium ions from leaking out of the mitochondria. The net
effect is that the calcium ion concentration is the presence of taurine is increased
in the mitochondria.
Our other interests involve the effects of taurine in the cardiovascular system, specifically
cardiomyopathies due to diabetes and the treatment of hypertension with taurine.
For a complete list of publications by J. Barry Lombardini in PubMed, click here
For further information contact Dr. J. Barry Lombardini