Heidelberg biochemists identify tool in ribosome manufacture
Researchers from the Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center (BZH) have discovered a complex of four proteins that, much like a multi-tool pocketknife, serves as a knife, a file and a pair of scissors in the manufacture of ribosomes.
The complex helps eliminate the residual ribonucleic acid (RNA) that are produced during the manufacturing of the ribsome and must be removed to complete the process. The results of the research were published in the journal “Molecular Cell”.
Ribosomes are the cell’s protein factories and must be continuously replenished for cell growth and division. “During biogenesis, the components are assembled, modified and reworked; their position accuracy is checked as well,” explains Prof. Dr. Ed Hurt of the BZH, whose research team discovered the protein complex.
In additional to ribosomal protein components, ribosomes also consist of ribosomal RNA in which ribonucleotides are linked together similar to a chain. Three of the four chains found in the mature ribosome are initially created as a large continuous RNA molecule, from which the three mature RNA chains are excised.
However, there are RNA pieces in between the mature RNA chains that need to be removed to obtain functional ribosomes. “The process is much like the formation of fingers in the embryo. To create a functional hand, the cells that make up the initially present ‘webbing’ between the fingers have to die,” explains Prof. Hurt.
The four-protein complex discovered by the BZH researchers combines multiple functions. Lisa Gasse at Ed Hurt’s laboratory found that a subunit of the enzyme complex first slices into one of the excess areas like a fine knife, a molecular scalpel in a way.
Next, one of the resulting RNA ends is activated so it can be gradually shredded until all the excess RNA is gone. According to the researchers, the complex has a separate protein for each function; shredding even requires two.
“This protein complex is similar to a pocketknife with three tools – a knife for slicing, a file to render the remnant compatible with the shredder, and the shredder itself,” explains Lisa Gasse.
The discovery by the Heidelberg researchers could shed new light on the origin and causes of a rare motor neuron disease that causes fatal respiratory failure in newborns, wherein a mutation in the protein complex was identified, specifically in the subunit with the scalpel function. This subunit was the focus of the Heidelberg team’s investigations.
L. Gasse, D. Flemming, E. Hurt: Coordinated Ribosomal ITS2 rRNA Processing by the Las1 Complex Integrating Endonuclease, Polynucleotide Kinase, and Exonuclease Activities. Molecular Cell (3 December 2015), doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2015.10.021
Prof. Dr. Ed Hurt
Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center
Phone +49 6221 54-4173
Communications and Marketing
Phone +49 6221 54-2311
Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Good preparation is half the digestion
15.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung
How the gut ‘talks’ to brown fat
16.11.2018 | Technische Universität München
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
16.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences