Scaffolding and specialised workers help with the delivery – Heidelberg biochemists gain new insights into biogenesis
A type of scaffolding on which specialised workers ply their trade helps in the manufacturing process of the two subunits from which the ribosome – the protein factory of the cell – originates. Biochemists at Heidelberg University discovered it after succeeding in getting a peek into the ribosomal “birthing room”.
While studying baker's yeast as the model organism, the researchers, in collaboration with colleagues from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, discovered a shell that envelops the smaller of the two subunits during the ribosome's formation.
The results of the research could contribute to a greater understanding of ribosomopathies – abnormalities caused by impaired ribosome biogenesis. Because several medications also act on the biogenesis of ribosomes, the investigators hope to apply their findings to cancer research. The results of the research were published in the journal “Cell”.
The research team of Prof. Dr Ed Hurt of the Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center had already stumbled on the earliest known ribosomal precursor, the 90S pre-ribosome, 15 years ago. To find out the function of this giant precursor particle in ribosome biogenesis, Markus Kornprobst isolated the pre-ribosomes of baker's yeast in order to analyse their structure.
“In the process, we discovered that the precursor bore a large shell-like module that the cell recycled after work was finished,” explains Markus Kornprobst of Prof. Hurt's team. “The relatively compact phenotype of the 90S pre-ribosome gave us the idea that this shell, in combination with other factors, encloses the smaller of the two ribosomal subunits during biogenesis to allow seamless assembly of the particle in a protected environment.” Using cryo-electron microscopy, they were able to confirm their suspicion in collaboration with the Munich team of Prof. Dr. Roland Beckmann.
Another member of Dr. Hurt's lab, Dr Nikola Kellner, isolated the 90S pre-ribosome from a heat-loving fungus. “They are more stable and hence better suited to further analyses than 90S pre-ribosomes from other organisms,” Nikola Kellner explains.
Finally, with the aid of cryo-electron microscopy, the structure of this thermostable 90S pre-ribosome was detectable down to a resolution of less than a nanometre. “The 90S factors actually form a gigantic cohesive network that surrounds the small developing subunit like a scaffold, such as on a high-rise, where specialized workers perform their jobs using various tools,” explains Ed Hurt.
M. Kornprobst, M. Turk, N. Kellner, et al.: Architecture of the 90S Pre-ribosome: A Structural View on the Birth of the Eukaryotic Ribosome. Cell 166 (July 14, 2016), doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.06.014
Model of the small ribosomal subunit shown at its “birth”. Within the 90S pre-ribosome – the earliest known intermediate in ribosome biogenesis – the nascent small ribosomal subunit is encapsulated by a giant network of biogenesis factors (“workers”). In analogy, the image illustrates how a construction scaffold is decorated with workers, who use tools for hammering, trimming, and burnishing, in order to sculpture the small subunit (shown yellow and blue) in its centre.
Figure: BZH/Jochen Baßler
Prof. Dr. Ed Hurt
Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center
Phone +49 6221 54-4781, -4173
Communications and Marketing
Press Office, phone +49 6221 54-2311
Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
What happens in the cell nucleus after fertilization
06.12.2016 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
06.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
06.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering