Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Scripps Research Institute Scientists Discover How a Protein Finds Its Way

Proteins, the workhorses of the body, can have more than one function, but they often need to be very specific in their action or they create cellular havoc, possibly leading to disease.
Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have uncovered how an enzyme co-factor can bestow specificity on a class of proteins with otherwise nonspecific biochemical activity.

The protein in question helps in the assembly of ribosomes, large macromolecular machines that are critical to protein production and cell growth. This new discovery expands scientists’ view of the role of co-factors and suggests such co-factors could be used to modify the activity of related proteins and their role in disease.

“In ribosome production, you need to do things very specifically,” said TSRI Associate Professor Katrin Karbstein, who led the study. “Adding a co-factor like Rrp5 forces these enzymes to be specific in their actions. The obvious possibility is that if you could manipulate the co-factor, you could alter protein activity, which could prove to be tremendously important.”

The new study, which is being published the week of April 29, 2013, in the online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, sheds light on proteins called DEAD-box proteins, a provocative title actually derived from their amino acid sequence. These proteins regulate all aspects of gene expression and RNA metabolism, particularly in the production of ribosomes, and are involved in cell metabolism. The link between defects in ribosome assembly and cancer and between DEAD-box proteins and cancer is well documented.

The findings show that the DEAD-box protein Rok1, needed in the production of a small ribosomal subunit, recognizes the RNA backbone, the basic structural framework of nucleic acids. The co-factor Rrp5 then gives Rok1 the ability to target a specific RNA sequence by modulating the structure of Rok1.

“Despite extensive efforts, the roles of these DEAD-box proteins in the assembly of the two ribosomal subunits remain largely unknown,” Karbstein said. “Our study suggests that the solution may be to identify their cofactors first.”

The first author of the study, “Cofactor-Dependent Specificity of a DEAD-box Protein,” is Crystal L. Young. Also a co-author of the paper is Sohail Khoshnevis.

The study was supported by National Institutes of Health Grant R01-GM086451 and the American Heart Association.

About The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is one of the world's largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. TSRI is internationally recognized for its contributions to science and health, including its role in laying the foundation for new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other diseases. An institution that evolved from the Scripps Metabolic Clinic founded by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1924, the institute now employs about 3,000 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists—including three Nobel laureates—work toward their next discoveries. The institute's graduate program, which awards PhD degrees in biology and chemistry, ranks among the top ten of its kind in the nation. For more information, see
For information:
Office of Communications
Tel: 858-784-2666
Fax: 858-784-8136

Eric Sauter | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Microbe hunters discover long-sought-after iron-munching microbe
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für marine Mikrobiologie

nachricht Seeking balanced networks: how neurons adjust their proteins during homeostatic scaling.
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Hirnforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Seeking balanced networks: how neurons adjust their proteins during homeostatic scaling.

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

More VideoLinks >>>