Heidelberg biochemists identify tool in ribosome manufacture
Researchers from the Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center (BZH) have discovered a complex of four proteins that, much like a multi-tool pocketknife, serves as a knife, a file and a pair of scissors in the manufacture of ribosomes.
The complex helps eliminate the residual ribonucleic acid (RNA) that are produced during the manufacturing of the ribsome and must be removed to complete the process. The results of the research were published in the journal “Molecular Cell”.
Ribosomes are the cell’s protein factories and must be continuously replenished for cell growth and division. “During biogenesis, the components are assembled, modified and reworked; their position accuracy is checked as well,” explains Prof. Dr. Ed Hurt of the BZH, whose research team discovered the protein complex.
In additional to ribosomal protein components, ribosomes also consist of ribosomal RNA in which ribonucleotides are linked together similar to a chain. Three of the four chains found in the mature ribosome are initially created as a large continuous RNA molecule, from which the three mature RNA chains are excised.
However, there are RNA pieces in between the mature RNA chains that need to be removed to obtain functional ribosomes. “The process is much like the formation of fingers in the embryo. To create a functional hand, the cells that make up the initially present ‘webbing’ between the fingers have to die,” explains Prof. Hurt.
The four-protein complex discovered by the BZH researchers combines multiple functions. Lisa Gasse at Ed Hurt’s laboratory found that a subunit of the enzyme complex first slices into one of the excess areas like a fine knife, a molecular scalpel in a way.
Next, one of the resulting RNA ends is activated so it can be gradually shredded until all the excess RNA is gone. According to the researchers, the complex has a separate protein for each function; shredding even requires two.
“This protein complex is similar to a pocketknife with three tools – a knife for slicing, a file to render the remnant compatible with the shredder, and the shredder itself,” explains Lisa Gasse.
The discovery by the Heidelberg researchers could shed new light on the origin and causes of a rare motor neuron disease that causes fatal respiratory failure in newborns, wherein a mutation in the protein complex was identified, specifically in the subunit with the scalpel function. This subunit was the focus of the Heidelberg team’s investigations.
L. Gasse, D. Flemming, E. Hurt: Coordinated Ribosomal ITS2 rRNA Processing by the Las1 Complex Integrating Endonuclease, Polynucleotide Kinase, and Exonuclease Activities. Molecular Cell (3 December 2015), doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2015.10.021
Prof. Dr. Ed Hurt
Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center
Phone +49 6221 54-4173
Communications and Marketing
Phone +49 6221 54-2311
Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells
22.02.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital
New insights into the information processing of motor neurons
22.02.2017 | Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
22.02.2017 | Life Sciences
22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy