Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A Peek into the “Birthing Room” of Ribosomes

15.07.2016

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”.


Model of the small ribosomal subunit shown at its “birth”

Figure: BZH/Jochen Baßler

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.

Original publication:
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

Caption:
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

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Ed Hurt
Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center
Phone +49 6221 54-4781, -4173
ed.hurt@bzh.uni-heidelberg.de

Communications and Marketing
Press Office, phone +49 6221 54-2311
presse@rektorat.uni-heidelberg.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.uni-heidelberg.de/zentral/bzh/hurt
http://www.bzh.uni-heidelberg.de

Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Fine organic particles in the atmosphere are more often solid glass beads than liquid oil droplets
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie

nachricht Study overturns seminal research about the developing nervous system
21.04.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>