Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Molecular Chaperone for Membrane Proteins

09.02.2012
Heidelberg biochemists decipher the “escort service” for biological solar collectors
For photosynthesis, the chloroplasts of all green plants contain biological solar collectors known as light-harvesting proteins. Because these proteins are not manufactured in the plant cell where they are used, they need to be transported. A specific molecular chaperone ensures they reach their destination. Biochemists at Heidelberg University have now gained elementary knowledge on the structure and function of this chaperone with the help of a variety of methods from structural biology.

The process of photosynthesis takes energy from the sun and converts it into chemical energy, creating oxygen in the process. For this purpose, the chloroplasts of all green plants contain biological solar collectors. These light-harvesting proteins are the most frequently occurring membrane proteins on the planet and are absolutely essential for efficient photosynthesis. Like all membrane proteins, the light-harvesting proteins also have characteristic hydrophobic – i.e. water-repellent – regions with which they are embedded in their target membrane. Until they reach the target membrane, in this case membrane systems in the chloroplasts, a chaperone shields the hydrophobic regions from harmful interactions.

The chloroplast proteins cpSRP43 and cpSRP54 function in this chaperone role for the light-harvesting proteins. “Deciphering the three-dimensional structure of the core complex of these two proteins allows us to draw basic conclusions about how the chaperone functions”, explains Prof. Dr. Irm¬gard Sinning of the Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center (BZH). The team of scientists working with Prof. Sinning discovered that two protein motifs take part in the interaction between cpSRP43 and cpSRP54, similar to the motifs that play a central role in regulating access to the genetic material in the cell nucleus. While scientists have known for years about the “histone code” involved in the processes in the nucleus, they now face the puzzle of the newly discovered “arginine code” in the chloroplasts.

The Heidelberg scientists conducted their research in close cooperation with colleagues from the Munich Technical University and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble (France). The researchers combined different structural biology methods in the pursuit of their work. X-ray structure analysis, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and small angle X-ray scattering were key in revealing the architecture and dynamics of the core complex of cpSRP43 und cpSRP54. In addition, they took advantage of the Biochemistry Center’s protein crystallization platform, which receives support from the Cluster of Excellence CellNetworks at Heidelberg University. The results of the research were published in “Nature Structural & Molecular Biology”.

Original publication:
I. Holdermann, N.H. Meyer, A. Round, K. Wild, M. Sattler, I. Sinning: Chromodomains read the arginine code of post-translational targeting. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2012 Jan 8. doi: 10.1038/nsmb.2196

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Irmgard Sinning
Biochemistry Center, phone: +49 6221 54-4781
irmi.sinning@bzh.uni-heidelberg.de

Communications and Marketing
Press Office, Phone +49 6221 54-2311
presse@rektorat.uni-heidelberg.de

Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch | idw
Further information:
http://www.uni-heidelberg.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

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

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>