Berlin-based researchers have produced snapshots of the 'protein factories' of the cell. Their findings could set us on the path towards a new class of antibiotics. The study - a basic science study conducted by researchers from Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics - has been published in Molecular Cell*.
Ribosomes are the 'protein factories' of the cell and are composed of two units: a larger 50S subunit, and a smaller 30S subunit. The larger 50S subunit in turn comprises 33 different proteins and 2 ribonucleic acid molecules. The aim of the study was to obtain detailed information about the way in which these numerous different molecules form 50S subunits in bacteria.
In a process known as 'in vitro reconstitution', the individual components were first purified and then mixed together in the laboratory. The researchers then observed how the 50S subunit assembled from this mixture. Using 3D cryo-electron microscopy, a technology whose developers received the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, they were able to produce high-resolution snapshots of individual stages of the 50S subunit's assembly and maturation. This allowed them to identify, on a molecular level, the individual steps involved in its development.
Explaining the significance of this study, Dr. Rainer Nikolay, of Charité's Institute of Medical Physics and Biophysics, comments: "These results do not simply provide us with important insights into one of the essential processes taking part inside the cell. They also provide us with information on potential targets for new antibacterial drugs."
These could potentially inhibit ribosome assembly, thereby paralyzing the bacterium's ability to synthesize proteins; these drugs could therefore be used to inhibit all bacterial growth.
Dr. Nikolay plans to conduct additional research to test whether the process of 50S subunit assembly inside the living cell is the same as that observed outside the cell. He explains: "Much of the information available in the literature suggests that 50S assembly in vivo follows a very similar course to that observed in vitro. To test this assumption, we are currently developing methods capable of analyzing the structure of 50S ribosomal subunit precursors, which we will obtain directly from cells."
*Nikolay R, Hilal T, Qin B, Mielke T, Bürger J, Loerke J, Textoris-Taube K, Nierhaus KH, Spahn CMT. Structural visualization of the formation and activation of the 50S ribosomal subunit during in vitro reconstitution. Molecular Cell 2018. DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2018.05.003.
Dr. Rainer Nikolay | EurekAlert!
Radioisotope couple for tumor diagnosis and therapy
14.05.2019 | Kanazawa University
Therapy Optimisation by Analysing the Genome
13.05.2019 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...
With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.
Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...
'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.
However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...
Working group led by physicist Professor Ulrich Nowak at the University of Konstanz, in collaboration with a team of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, demonstrates how skyrmions can be used for the computer concepts of the future
When it comes to performing a calculation destined to arrive at an exact result, humans are hopelessly inferior to the computer. In other areas, humans are...
Scientists develop a molecular recording tool that enables in vivo lineage tracing of embryonic cells
The beginning of new life starts with a fascinating process: A single cell gives rise to progenitor cells that eventually differentiate into the three germ...
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
17.05.2019 | Materials Sciences
17.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
17.05.2019 | Materials Sciences