Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A Protective Cap for Bacterial RNA

03.08.2016

Heidelberg researchers unravel structure and function of bacterial decapping enzyme

For the first time, researchers from Heidelberg University have deciphered the function of the so-called decapping enzyme in bacteria. These molecular helpers remove the protective cap at the start of ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules.


Source: Katharina Höfer/IPMB

Model of the NudC enzyme (in grey and purple) that binds to the NAD cap of bacterial ribonucleic acid.

This decapping destabilises the ribonucleic acid, thus allowing degradation to begin in the cells. While these processes are well understood in the messenger RNA of cells in higher organisms, Prof. Dr Andres Jäschke and his bioorganic chemistry working group now revealed these mechanisms in bacterial RNA.

Until now, scientists believed that bacteria did not possess this cap structure. The results of this research were published in the journal “Nature Chemical Biology”.

Ribonucleic acids primarily serve as messengers or scaffold molecules in cells, but they also accelerate key biochemical reactions and regulate metabolic processes. In higher organisms, the eukaryotes, messenger RNA (mRNA) usually has a molecular cap at its start; this chemical modification stabilises the messenger RNA, protecting it from degradation and modification.

In the prevailing scientific view, bacterial RNA lacks this cap structure. In 2015, however, Prof. Jäschke and his team discovered a modification in certain bacterial RNAs that is structurally similar to the cap on the messenger RNA in eukaryotes.

The cap is nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), a coenzyme that plays a key role in metabolism. If NAD is used as a cap in ribonucleic acid, however, it protects the RNA from degradation and modification. Once the NAD cap is removed, the RNA can be degraded in order to initiate metabolic processes.

Prof. Jäschke and his team identified an enzyme known as NudC that is responsible for removing the cap. The Heidelberg researchers from the Institute for Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology succeeded in analysing NudC from the Escherichia coli bacterium using high-resolution crystal structures, which enabled them to decode the enzyme's function.

Prof. Jäschke emphasises that the structural investigations open up a new field of research, because possible interaction partners of NudC as well as other decapping enzymes in other bacteria need to be identified. The researchers hope their current findings will fuel new interest in identifying unknown cap structures in other microorganisms as well as their functional mechanisms.

Original publication:
K. Höfer, S. Li, F. Abele, J. Frindert, J. Schlotthauer, J. Grawenhoff, J. Du, D.J. Patel and A. Jäschke: Structure and function of the bacterial decapping enzyme NudC. Nature Chemical Biology (published online 18 July 2016), doi: 10.1038/nchembio.2132

Contact:
Prof. Dr Andres Jäschke
Institute for Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology
Phone +49 6221 54-4853
jaeschke@uni-hd.de

Communications and Marketing
Press Office, phone +49 6221 54-2311
presse@rektorat.uni-heidelberg.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.ipmb.uni-heidelberg.de/chemie/jaeschke/index.html

Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.uni-heidelberg.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Mass spectrometry sheds new light on thallium poisoning cold case
14.12.2018 | University of Maryland

nachricht Protein involved in nematode stress response identified
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>