Carnegie Mellon University biologists are the first to show that minor changes in the tail of one protein cripple yeasts ability to assemble protein-making machines called ribosomes. The findings, published in a recent issue of Molecular Cell, ultimately could help scientists develop better drugs to fight fungal infections.
"Our findings are the first to link the structure of a ribosomal protein to a critical step in the pathway to assembling a fully functional ribosome," explained John Woolford, professor of biological sciences at the Mellon College of Science at Carnegie Mellon. "Understanding the molecular basis of ribosome assembly offers a rational scheme for designing drugs to interfere with that process."
A complex of protein and ribonucleic acid (RNA), ribosomes are present in vast quantities inside every cell. There, they translate genetic information into proteins that control many activities, including cell movement, metabolism, division and response to the environment. Because ribosomes are essential for protein production, problems with their assembly inevitably spell cell death.
Lauren Ward | EurekAlert!
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