Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

In pursuit of the energy of life: Researchers decipher makeup of generators in cellular power plants

Date:
June 21, 2010
Source:
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Summary:
Scientists in Germany have discovered a new mechanism which plays an essential role in the assembly and growth of mitochondria, the "power plants" of the cell.

Scientists from the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Collaborative Research Center 746 of the University of Freiburg have discovered a new mechanism which plays an essential role in the assembly and growth of mitochondria, the "power plants" of the cell.

Related Articles


These organelles make energy stored in food ready for use by the cell. The generators in the cellular power plants are biological membranes located inside the mitochondria. Even minute errors in the composition of the inner mitochondrial membrane can lead to severe metabolic derangements, which can have an especially negative impact on the energy-hungry muscle and nerve cells.

In order to function, the cellular generators depend on the support of numerous highly specialized membrane proteins in the inner mitochondrial membrane. For the most part, these proteins are synthesized outside of the organelles and then imported with the help of protein translocases. Fundamental processes like this follow the same principles in all organisms, from unicellular life forms to human beings. The scientists were thus able to use mitochondria from baker's yeast as a model system for their study, which has now been published in the journal Current Biology.

In investigating the insertion of a family of membrane proteins which is of great pharmacological interest, the so-called ABC transporters, the research team made the surprising discovery that some segments of the transporters are evidently initially skipped by the insertion machinery and transported completely over the membrane. "These errors in membrane insertion are then repaired by another translocase which is very old from an evolutionary perspective," says Maria Bohnert, doctoral student and Boehringer-Ingelheim Scholarship recipient. Thus, the scientists were able to demonstrate for the first time that at least two different protein translocases cooperate closely to insert proteins with complex structures into the inner mitochondrial membrane.

In clarifying this coupled mechanism of membrane insertion, project head Dr. Martin van der Laan and his team have solved a hotly debated scientific problem and made a major contribution to our understanding of the composition and functioning of cellular power plants. The findings may help scientists to throw light on the mechanisms of diseases caused by defects in the biogenesis of mitochondria.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Maria Bohnert, Peter Rehling, Bernard Guiard, Johannes M. Herrmann, Nikolaus Pfanner, and Martin van der Laan. Cooperation of Stop-Transfer and Conservative Sorting Mechanisms in Mitochondrial Protein Transport. Current Biology, 2010; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.05.058

Cite This Page:

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. "In pursuit of the energy of life: Researchers decipher makeup of generators in cellular power plants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100618082215.htm>.
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. (2010, June 21). In pursuit of the energy of life: Researchers decipher makeup of generators in cellular power plants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100618082215.htm
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. "In pursuit of the energy of life: Researchers decipher makeup of generators in cellular power plants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100618082215.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) — Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) — A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) — The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins