Using x-ray crystallography, researchers have produced the first images of a large molecular complex that helps shape and load the small, bubble-like vesicles that transport newly formed proteins in the cell. Understanding vesicle "budding" is one of the prerequisites for learning how proteins and other molecules are routed to their correct destinations in the cell.
In an article published in the September 19, 2002, issue of the journal Nature, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator Jonathan Goldberg, Xiping Bi and Richard Corpina at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center unveil the intricate architecture of the "pre-budding complex," which is a set of proteins that participates in the formation of vesicles on the cells endoplasmic reticulum (ER). The pre-budding complex is the triggering component of a protein coat called COPII that grabs a section of the ER membrane, pinches it off to form the vesicle and packages the protein cargo to be transported.
"The structure developed by Bi, Corpina and Goldberg makes an important contribution to the understanding of vesicle formation -- a process central to the transport of newly formed proteins," said HHMI investigator Randy Schekman, a pioneer in vesicle studies at the University of California, Berkeley. "It illuminates in detail the mechanism by which the core complex of the COPII protein coat assembles on the ER membrane to initiate the process of membrane cargo capture and vesicle budding." Schekman and James Rothman of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, working independently, have identified many of the fundamental details of protein transport and secretion.
Jim Keeley | EurekAlert!
Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden
The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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