Their finding, published in the March 11 issue of the journal Developmental Cell, is important because it allows scientists to control this one aspect of cellular autophagy, and may lead to the ability to control other selective “self-eating” processes. This, in turn, could help illuminate autophagy’s role in aging, immunity, neurodegeneration and cancer.
All eukaryotic cells dispose of bacteria, viruses, damaged organelles and other non-essential components through this self-eating process. A part of the cell called the lysosome engulfs and degrades subcellular detritus. The ability of cells to recycle and reuse the cellular raw materials, as well as to “re-model” themselves in response to changing conditions, allows them to adapt and survive.
Autophagy was first described about 40 years ago, but has recently become a topic of great interest in cell biology because it is linked to cell growth, development aging and homeostasis -- helping cells to maintain a balance among synthesis, degradation and recycling.
The UC San Diego researchers report in their paper that they identified a novel protein called Atg30 (one of 31 required for autophagy-related processes) from the yeast Pichia pastoris, that controls the degradation of a sub-compartment of cells, the peroxisomes.
Peroxisomes generate and dispose of harmful peroxides that are by-products of oxidative chemical reactions.
Different organelles within the cell are degraded by lysosomes when the organelles are damaged or not necessary, said Jean-Claude Farré, the biologist who identified Atg30. The team is investigating peroxisomes, and working to understand how and why they are selected by the lysosome for degradation.
What the biologists found, he said, is that “this new protein can mediate peroxisome selection during pexophagy – that is, it is necessary for pexophagy, but not for other autophagy-related processes.”
Suresh Subramani, a professor of biology who headed the team, said they have established that Atg30 is a “key player” in the selection of peroxisomes for delivery to “the autophagy machinery” for re-cycling.
“For the first time, we can use a protein to control the process,” Subramani said. “It’s an important step in understanding the workings of cells.”
Subramani and Farré were assisted by Ravi Manjithaya and Richard D. Mathewson, all of the Division of Biological Sciences at UC San Diego.
The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health.
Paul K. Mueller | EurekAlert!
A room with a view - or how cultural differences matter in room size perception
25.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für biologische Kybernetik
Studying a catalyst for blood cancers
25.04.2017 | University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
25.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
25.04.2017 | Life Sciences
25.04.2017 | Earth Sciences