Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Link found in how cells start process necessary for life

Researchers have found an RNA structure-based signal that spans billions of years of evolutionary divergence between different types of cells, according to a new study. The finding could alter the basic understanding of how two distinct life forms -- bacteria and eukaryotes -- begin the process of protein synthesis.

Scientists have long thought that the molecular signals that initiate protein synthesis in bacteria and eukaryotes are mutually exclusive. Scientists in Kieft's lab explored whether a structured RNA molecule from a virus that infects eukaryotic cells could function in bacteria. Surprisingly, they found that it could initiate protein syntheses, a process necessary for life.

For details see:

Timothy M. Colussi, David A. Costantino, Jianyu Zhu, John Paul Donohue, Andrei A. Korostelev, Zane A. Jaafar, Terra-Dawn M. Plank, Harry F. Noller, Jeffrey S. Kieft. Initiation of translation in bacteria by a structured eukaryotic IRES RNA. Nature, 2015; DOI: 10.1038/nature14219

Posted by Tim Sandle