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
Unique genome architectures after fertilisation in single-cell embryos
30.03.2017 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences