Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A Protective Cap for Bacterial RNA

03.08.2016

Heidelberg researchers unravel structure and function of bacterial decapping enzyme

For the first time, researchers from Heidelberg University have deciphered the function of the so-called decapping enzyme in bacteria. These molecular helpers remove the protective cap at the start of ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules.


Source: Katharina Höfer/IPMB

Model of the NudC enzyme (in grey and purple) that binds to the NAD cap of bacterial ribonucleic acid.

This decapping destabilises the ribonucleic acid, thus allowing degradation to begin in the cells. While these processes are well understood in the messenger RNA of cells in higher organisms, Prof. Dr Andres Jäschke and his bioorganic chemistry working group now revealed these mechanisms in bacterial RNA.

Until now, scientists believed that bacteria did not possess this cap structure. The results of this research were published in the journal “Nature Chemical Biology”.

Ribonucleic acids primarily serve as messengers or scaffold molecules in cells, but they also accelerate key biochemical reactions and regulate metabolic processes. In higher organisms, the eukaryotes, messenger RNA (mRNA) usually has a molecular cap at its start; this chemical modification stabilises the messenger RNA, protecting it from degradation and modification.

In the prevailing scientific view, bacterial RNA lacks this cap structure. In 2015, however, Prof. Jäschke and his team discovered a modification in certain bacterial RNAs that is structurally similar to the cap on the messenger RNA in eukaryotes.

The cap is nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), a coenzyme that plays a key role in metabolism. If NAD is used as a cap in ribonucleic acid, however, it protects the RNA from degradation and modification. Once the NAD cap is removed, the RNA can be degraded in order to initiate metabolic processes.

Prof. Jäschke and his team identified an enzyme known as NudC that is responsible for removing the cap. The Heidelberg researchers from the Institute for Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology succeeded in analysing NudC from the Escherichia coli bacterium using high-resolution crystal structures, which enabled them to decode the enzyme's function.

Prof. Jäschke emphasises that the structural investigations open up a new field of research, because possible interaction partners of NudC as well as other decapping enzymes in other bacteria need to be identified. The researchers hope their current findings will fuel new interest in identifying unknown cap structures in other microorganisms as well as their functional mechanisms.

Original publication:
K. Höfer, S. Li, F. Abele, J. Frindert, J. Schlotthauer, J. Grawenhoff, J. Du, D.J. Patel and A. Jäschke: Structure and function of the bacterial decapping enzyme NudC. Nature Chemical Biology (published online 18 July 2016), doi: 10.1038/nchembio.2132

Contact:
Prof. Dr Andres Jäschke
Institute for Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology
Phone +49 6221 54-4853
jaeschke@uni-hd.de

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

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.ipmb.uni-heidelberg.de/chemie/jaeschke/index.html

Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.uni-heidelberg.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht 'Y' a protein unicorn might matter in glaucoma
23.10.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology

nachricht Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry
23.10.2017 | Rice University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>