Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How One Gene Can Produce Two Proteins

26.05.2011
Small proteins of the ubiquitin family work as molecular switches and control many cellular functions.

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) in Martinsried near Munich, Germany, now discovered that the protein Hub1 of this protein family has a big effect on the synthesis of proteins: Hub1 influences the way how cells translate the information that is encoded in the genes. It even allows that one gene provides the information for two proteins and thus leads to more proteins than there are genes. This mechanism could also affect the protein repertoire of humans and hence will possibly have numerous implications for health and disease. (Nature, May 25, 2011)

Each cell possesses a large number of proteins, which steer all life functions. Each protein takes on special tasks, but these can be altered through protein modifications. Particularly fascinating cases are modifications in which the proteins are modified by chemical attachment of small proteins that belong to the ubiquitin family. Ubiquitin, which was discovered in the 1970ies, is known to work as a label for degradation: proteins marked with ubiquitin are specifically recognized by the cellular shredder, the proteasome.

In the laboratory of Stefan Jentsch at the MPIB scientists identified and studied Hub1, an unusual member of the ubiquitin family. Although Hub1 has a similar structure, it functions completely different to ubiquitin and other members of this protein family. Shravan Kumar Mishra, a postdoc in the laboratory, found that Hub1 binds tightly, but not chemically linked, to the highly conserved protein Snu66. This protein is part of a cellular machine, the spliceosome, which, by a process known as “splicing”, cuts out segments of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) and pastes the remaining parts together. As mRNA molecules transport the genetic information that is stored in the genes of the chromosomes to cellular machines (ribosomes) that translate the information into proteins, splicing can significantly alter the repertoire of proteins in cells. Mishra and colleagues now discovered that binding of Hub1 to Snu66 changes the properties of this machine in a dramatic way: in the presence of Hub1 it can act on RNAs that are otherwise not spliced. In a few cases, Hub1-modified spliceosomes can even generate two different mRNAs from one single gene. In this process, which is called “alternative splicing”, one gene thus provides the information for two different proteins.

The Hub1-mediated mechanism that the Jentsch team identified may be the oldest evolved mechanism that leads to more proteins than there are genes. Mishra and co-workers found out that the mechanism they identified is conserved from single-cellular organisms like yeast to humans. As the newly discovered mechanism is expected to influence the production of a large range of proteins also in humans, the new findings will have numerous implications for human cells in health and disease.

Original Publication:
Mishra et al. (2011): Role of the ubiquitin-like protein Hub1 in splice-site usage and alternative splicing. Nature, May 25, 2011.
Contact:
Prof. Dr. Stefan Jentsch
Molecular Cell Biology
Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry
Am Klopferspitz 18
82152 Martinsried
Germany
E-Mail: jentsch@biochem.mpg.de
Anja Konschak
Public Relations
Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry
Am Klopferspitz 18
82152 Martinsried
Germany
Tel. +49 89 8578-2824
E-Mail: konschak@biochem.mpg.de
http://www.biochem.mpg.de

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

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'
23.01.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht Researchers identify a protein that keeps metastatic breast cancer cells dormant
23.01.2018 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Optical Nanoscope Allows Imaging of Quantum Dots

Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.

Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'

23.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems

23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Transportable laser

23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>