Researchers have gained the most detailed view yet of the heart of the translocon, a channel through which newly constructed proteins are inserted into the cell membrane. The process of transporting proteins across or into membranes is a critical function that occurs in every cell.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Joachim Frank at the Wadsworth Center and his colleagues reported their detailed study of the translocons core, called the protein-conducting channel (PCC), in an article published in the November 17, 2005, issue of the journal Nature. Co-lead authors on the paper were Kakoli Mitra in Franks laboratory and Christiane Schaffitzel of the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Hönggerberg in Switzerland, who is in the laboratory of the other senior author, Nenad Ban. Other co-authors were from the Scripps Research Institute and the State University of New York at Albany.
The researchers studied the PCC, which grabs newly made protein as it is extruded from the ribosomes protein synthesis machinery. The PCC then opens either a pore that is perpendicular or lateral to the cell membrane to feed the new protein either across or into the membrane.
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