Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How cells export and embed proteins in the membrane

14.12.2010
Like an overprotective parent on the first day of school, a targeting factor sometimes needs a little push to let go of its cargo.

Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Grenoble, France, have visualised one such hand-over. They were the first to determine the structure of a ribosome-protein complex involved in carrying nascent proteins out of the cell.

Their work, published online today in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, could increase understanding of illnesses such as cystic fibrosis and some forms of Parkinson’s disease, in which improper protein targeting leads proteins to harmfully accumulate inside cells.

In most organisms, proteins destined to cross or be embedded in a membrane contain a polypeptide sequence that is recognized during translation by a targeting factor known as the signal recognition particle (SRP). SRP binds to the ribosome synthesizing the polypeptide, and subsequently also binds an SRP receptor, located next to the machinery that transfers proteins across the membrane and out of the cell. EMBL scientists have now generated the first-ever structural image of this important step in the process.

“The SRP receptor acts as a switch between the cargo binding and the release,” says Christiane Schaffitzel, who led the research at EMBL, “Now we have seen for the first time how the release can happen at a molecular level.”

Schaffitzel’s group is taking structural snapshots of entire pathways by which proteins are synthesized and targeted to their final positions. To capture this hand-over step, the scientists had to overcome the fact that the link between SRP and its receptor is usually transient, chemically unstable. They engineered the SRP receptor so that it would bind more stably to SRP, then introduced ribosomes and observed the resulting complexes using cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM).

Cryo-EM can be performed in roughly physiological conditions, providing a picture that closely resembles what happens in living cells. This picture can then be combined with higher-resolution crystallography data and biochemical studies – an exciting hybrid approach the EMBL scientists will further exploit to follow protein targeting all the way from start to finish.A particular asset for success in this project was the close collaboration with Guy Schoehn at the Institut de Biologie Structurale (IBS). IBS and EMBL are part of the Partnership for Structural Biology (PSB) in Grenoble, France.

Source Article
Estrozi, L.F., Boehringer, D., Shan, S., Ban, N., Schaffitzel, C.. Cryo-EM structure of the E. coli translating ribosome in complex with SRP and its receptor. Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, Advance Online Publication 12 December 2010. DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.1952.

Press Contact
Sonia Furtado
EMBL Press Officer
Meyerhofstraße 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
Tel:+49 6221 387-8263
Email:sonia.furtado@embl.de
Policy regarding use
Press and Picture Releases
EMBL press and picture releases including photographs, graphics, movies and videos are copyrighted by EMBL. They may be freely reprinted and distributed for non-commercial use via print, broadcast and electronic media, provided that proper attribution to authors, photographers and designers is made.

Sonia Furtado | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.embl.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>