Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Your body recycling itself -- captured on film

Date:
September 21, 2010
Source:
McGill University
Summary:
Proteins are made up of a chain of amino acids, and scientists have known since the 1980s that first one in the chain determines the lifetime of a protein. Researchers have finally discovered how the cell identifies this first amino acid -- and caught it on camera.

This image shows UBR-box recognition of an arginine residue at the beginning of a protein (blue) targeted for degradation. The structural integrity of the UBR box depends on zinc (grey) and a histidine residue (red) that is mutated in Johanson-Blizzard syndrome.
Credit: Department of Biochemistry, McGill University.

Our bodies recycle proteins, the fundamental building blocks that enable cell growth and development. Proteins are made up of a chain of amino acids, and scientists have known since the 1980s that first one in the chain determines the lifetime of a protein. McGill researchers have finally discovered how the cell identifies this first amino acid -- and caught it on camera.

Related Articles


"There are lots of reasons cells recycle proteins -- fasting, which causes loss of muscle, growth and remodeling during development, and normal turnover as old proteins are replaced to make new ones," explained lead researcher, Dr. Kalle Gehring, from McGill's Department of Biochemistry. "One way that cells decide which proteins to degrade is the presence of a signal known as an N-degron at the start of the protein. By X-ray crystallography, we discovered that the N-degron is recognized by the UBR box, a component of the cells' recycling system."

The powerful technique can pinpoint the exact location of atoms and enabled the team to capture an image of the UBR box, providing insight to this incredibly tiny yet essential part of our bodies' chemical mechanics.

Aside from representing a major advance in our understanding of the life cycle of proteins, the research has important repercussions for Johanson-Blizzard syndrome, a rare disease that causes deformations and mental retardation. This syndrome is caused by a mutation in the UBR box that causes it to lose an essential zinc atom. Better understanding of the structure of the UBR box may help researchers develop treatments for this syndrome.

The research was published in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology and received funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McGill University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Edna Matta-Camacho, Guennadi Kozlov, Flora F Li, Kalle Gehring. Structural basis of substrate recognition and specificity in the N-end rule pathway. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, 2010; DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.1894

Cite This Page:

McGill University. "Your body recycling itself -- captured on film." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100913093038.htm>.
McGill University. (2010, September 21). Your body recycling itself -- captured on film. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100913093038.htm
McGill University. "Your body recycling itself -- captured on film." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100913093038.htm (accessed April 24, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, April 24, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dispute Flares Over Controversial Thai Temple Tigers

Dispute Flares Over Controversial Thai Temple Tigers

AFP (Apr. 24, 2015) Thai wildlife officials begin a headcount of nearly 150 tigers kept by monks at a temple which has become the centre of a dispute over the welfare of the animals. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
College Kegger: University Gets in on Craft Brew

College Kegger: University Gets in on Craft Brew

AP (Apr. 24, 2015) Theres never been a shortage of beer on college campuses. But students at Cal Poly-Pomona are learning how to brew, serving their product to classmates, and hoping to land jobs in craft breweries when they graduate. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cambodian Butterflies Help Villagers Make a Living

Cambodian Butterflies Help Villagers Make a Living

AFP (Apr. 24, 2015) Cambodia&apos;s Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre is the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia. As well as educating tourists about the creatures, it also offers a source of income to nearby villagers, who are paid to breed local species. Duration: 02:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

AP (Apr. 23, 2015) Developers of 3D food printing hope the culinary technology will revolutionize the way we cook and eat. (April 23) Video provided by AP
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