Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Feeding RNAs to a molecular shredder

16.08.2013
Much in the same way as we use shredders to destroy documents that are no longer useful or that contain potentially damaging information, cells use molecular machines to degrade unwanted or defective macromolecules.

Scientists of the Max Planck Institute (MPI) of Biochemistry in Martinsried near Munich, Germany, have now decoded the structure of a protein complex (Ski complex) which plays an essential role in the process of degrading ribonucleic acids (RNAs).


The ski complex plays an important role in the quality management of the cell.
Grafic: Felix Halbach © MPI of Biochemistry

“The Ski complex we investigated feeds RNA molecules to the degradation machinery,” says Felix Halbach, scientist at the MPI of Biochemistry. The study has now been published in the journal Cell.

RNAs are ubiquitous and abundant molecules with multiple functions in the cell, such as allowing the translation of the genomic information into proteins. Any errors that occur during the synthesis of RNA molecules or unwanted accumulation of RNAs can be harmful for the cell. The elimination of defective RNAs or of RNAs that are no longer needed is therefore a key step in the metabolism of a cell. This task is carried out by a protein complex called Exosome, one of the research objects in the department “Structural Cell Biology” headed by Elena Conti. The molecular mechanism of how the Exosome is regulated, however, is not very clear yet.

The Max Planck scientists have now elucidated the atomic structure and the operating mechanism of a protein complex (Ski complex) which is involved in the activation of the cytoplasmic Exosome. The Ski complex contains several subunits and can be found in all eukaryotes – from yeast to humans. “We could show that the Ski complex and the Exosome interact directly and that they jointly form a channel for the RNA which is supposed to be degraded,” says Felix Halbach. Like DNA, RNA molecules are often folded. To be degraded by the Exosome, RNA molecules have to be unfolded first – this task is executed by the Ski complex. The unfolded RNA molecules can then be guided through the joint channel to the Exosome. “The Ski complex feeds RNA molecules to the Exosome,” explains the biochemist.

The results also reveal additional parallels between the Exosome and the Proteasome. The Proteasome is the protein complex responsible for the degradation of proteins in a cell. “It becomes clear that these two complexes are not only structurally and functionally similar,” says Elena Conti, “also their regulatory subunits work in a similar manner.” They unwind RNA molecules or, respectively, proteins and guide them to the active centers of the specific degradation machinery.

Original Publication
Halbach, F., Reichelt, P., Rode, M. and Conti, E.: The yeast Ski complex: Crystal structure and substrate channeling to the RNA exosome. Cell, August 15, 2013

DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.07.017

Contact
Prof. Dr. Elena Conti
Structural Cell Biology
Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry
Am Klopferspitz 18
82152 Martinsried
E-Mail: conti@biochem.mpg.de
http://www.biochem.mpg.de/conti
Anja Konschak
Public Relations
Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry
Am Klopferspitz 18
82152 Martinsried
Phone: +49 (0) 89 8578-2824
E-Mail: konschak@biochem.mpg.de
Weitere Informationen:
http://www.biochem.mpg.de/1857469/075_Conti_Ski
- Press Release
http://www.biochem.mpg.de/conti
- Website of the Research Department "Structural Biology" (Elena Conti)

Anja Konschak | Max-Planck-Institut
Further information:
http://www.biochem.mpg.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University

nachricht Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017
25.04.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>