G proteins play a central role in cellular signal processing. They are described as molecular switches that oscillate between ‘on’ and ‘off’, regulated by effectors. Biochemists at Heidelberg University have now gained fundamental insights into the mechanics of these switches.
The G protein FlhF, together with a signal sequence binding protein (SRP54) and its receptor (FtsY), constitutes the ancient family of SRP-GTPases, which consists solely of these three proteins and is responsible for the transport of proteins in or through a biological membrane. In all known organisms, SRP54 and FtsY regulate the transport of proteins using the signal recognition particle (SRP). Although the SRP system is already well understood, it was recently demonstrated that the protein SRP54 and the receptor FtsY interact with the SRP RNA in a way reminiscent of FlhF and its newly discovered effector.
“Our study of the G protein FlhF not only offers an explanation for the FlhF effector complex, it also integrates this knowledge into a general concept of SRP-GTPase activation through RNA or proteins”, says Dr. Gert Bange of the Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center. “We used FlhF to demonstrate how the ‘modern’ protein world replaced the original RNA world by means of a strikingly simple modification.” The results of the research were published in “Nature Structural & Molecular Biology”.Original publication:
Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch | idw
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