Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Traffic Jam in the Cell: How Are Proteins Assigned to Specific Transporters?

01.04.2019

Special carriers ensure that proteins are transported to where they are needed in the cell. By combining innovative investigative techniques, biochemists at Heidelberg University have succeeded in comprehensively analysing two of these so-called transport vesicles – the COPI and COPII vesicles – for the first time.

Heidelberg researchers comprehensively identify the composition of transport vesicles for the first time


A fundamental cellular mechanism ensures that proteins are transported to the places they are needed in the cells. So-called vesicles are responsible for that transport. Determining their composition has been difficult up to now, not least because of their short life span.

By combining innovative investigative techniques, biochemists at Heidelberg University have succeeded in analysing two of these transport vesicles – the COPI and COPII vesicles – comprehensively for the first time. The results of the research were published in the journal “Cell Reports”.

About a third of all the proteins that are made in our cells start their lives in the endoplasmic reticulum, that serves as a general protein factory. However, most proteins are needed at other cellular locations and need to be transported there.

To avoid a “traffic jam”, cells have evolved transport vesicles that act as a public transportation system: Passengers – the protein cargo – need to present the correct ticket to board the right bus – a specific type of vesicle – and end up at the correct destination.

Scientists have known for decades that small vesicles that form on the surface of organelles package specific proteins and transport them to other areas of the cell or the cell surface.

“Mutations in genes involved in vesicular transport often lead to disease. It is therefore crucial to understand which proteins are transported by which vesicles. Unfortunately transport vesicles have a short life span and are challenging to purify, so they are difficult to analyse,” states Prof. Dr Felix Wieland, who headed up the research at the Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center (BZH).

The researchers combined two approaches to study the composition of the COPI and COPII vesicles in greater detail for the first time. A vesicle reconstitution procedure made it possible to produce and purify large amounts of vesicles. They also used stable isotope labelling with amino acids in cell cultures. This procedure – called SILAC for short – allows precisely quantifying different protein amounts using mass spectrometry.

“Being able to generate specific types of vesicles and to analyse their protein contents allowed us to define a catalogue of protein cargo for COPI and COPII vesicles. One key finding is that subtypes of COPII vesicles seem to have specialised in transporting certain types of proteins,” stresses Dr Frank Adolf, the study‘s primary author. The researchers now hope that this approach will open the way to better understand how mutations that affect vesicular transport can lead to diseases.

As a member of the Cluster of Excellence CellNetworks at Ruperto Carola, Prof. Wieland’s research at the Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center focuses on the mechanisms of vesicular transport and protein-lipid interactions.

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

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Prof. Dr Felix Wieland
Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center (BZH)
Phone +49 6221 54-4150
felix.wieland@bzh.uni-heidelberg.de

Originalpublikation:

F. Adolf, M. Rhiel, B. Hessling, Q. Gao, A. Hellwig, J. Béthune, and F.T. Wieland: Resource Proteomic Profiling of Mammalian COPII and COPI Vesicles. Cell Reports 26, 250–265 (2 January 2019), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2018.12.041

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.bzh.uni-heidelberg.de/wieland

Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs
18.04.2019 | University of Hawaii at Manoa

nachricht New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection
18.04.2019 | Polytechnique Montréal

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

Im Focus: Researchers 3D print metamaterials with novel optical properties

Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna

A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>