Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

HSF1 – in case of emergency

16.02.2016

Just as we humans do well to call the police or fire services in the event of an emergency, cells have helpers that are activated in a crisis. Cellular stress activates heat-shock transcription factor 1 (HSF1), which then binds DNA and facilitates the production of the cellular helpers. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried have managed to demonstrate how this process works. Using X-ray crystallography, the scientists have decoded the exact structure of HSF1 and are thus able to explain the protein’s operating mode. Their work was recently published in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.

When there is an accident or a house fire, we call the police or the fire services. A control room quickly coordinates emergency operations.


Three HSF1 molecules (white, blue, grey) associate to ensure stable interaction between HSF1 and DNA. This activates the production of cellular crisis helpers, the heat-shock proteins.

Tobias Neudegger © MPI of Biochemistry

The cells in our bodies also have helpers in a crisis; the heat-shock proteins. These are triggered in response to cellular stress, such as high temperature, UV radiation or cancer. Heat-shock proteins help other proteins maintain their functional structure and eliminate denatured proteins to counter the abnormal cellular situation.

In cells, the operator in the control room is HSF1, heat-shock transcription factor 1. It binds certain DNA sequences that encode the “assembly instructions” for the cellular helpers. When HSF1 is activated, the production of functional heat-shock proteins is triggered.

Andreas Bracher and his team in Prof. Hartl’s Department of Cellular Biochemistry at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried have demonstrated exactly how HSF1 binds DNA.

“Using X-ray crystallography, we studied the exact molecular arrangement,” explains Tobias Neudegger, a member of Bracher’s team and first author of the study. Proteins consist of long strands of amino acids which adopt a certain three-dimensional structure in order to become functionally active.

“We were able to show how three identical HSF1 molecules associate in case of cellular stress. That is how a stable DNA-HSF1 interaction occurs. If HSF1 is not bound to DNA, each individual HSF1 molecule is stored in an inactive state in the cell,” Neudegger explains.

The increased production of heat-shock proteins could be advantageous for the treatment of diseases. “Now that we know the HSF1 structure, drugs can be developed to activate or deactivate HSF1 and thus stimulate or inhibit the production of cellular helpers,” says Bracher, describing potential future HSF1 research.

Incorrectly folded proteins in the cells could be repaired or denatured proteins more easily eliminated. Incorrectly folded proteins are usually found in connection with Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, as well as in cancer cells.

Original publication:
T. Neudegger, J. Verghese, M. Hayer-Hartl, F. U. Hartl & A. Bracher: Structure of human heat-shock transcription factor 1 in complex with DNA. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, February 2016
DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.3149

Dr. Andreas Bracher
Department of Cellular Biochemistry
Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry
Am Klopferspitz 18
82152 Martinsried
E-Mail: bracher@biochem.mpg.de
www.biochem.mpg.de/hartl

Dr. Christiane Menzfeld
Public Relations
Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry
Am Klopferspitz 18
82152 Martinsried
Germany
Tel. +49 89 8578-2824
E-Mail: pr@biochem.mpg.de
www.biochem.mpg.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.biochem.mpg.de/en/news - More press releases of the MPI of Biochemistry
http://www.biochem.mpg.de/hartl - Website of the Research Department "Cellular Biochemistry" (F.-Ulrich Hartl)

Dr. Christiane Menzfeld | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

nachricht Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>