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Scripps Florida scientists identify critical 'quality control' for cell growth
Date:7/5/2012

lp complete the process.

During the final maturation process, various assembly factors prevent the translation process from acting on the subunits prematurely, which would result in their rapid degradation or in the production of incorrectly assembled proteins, both processes with potentially lethal outcomes for the cell.

Trial Run

While the work of these assembly factors explains how premature translation is blocked, their presence raises another important question, Karbstein saidDoes the conversion of inactive assembly intermediates into mature ribosomes require checkpoints to assure that subunits are functional?

In the study, Karbstein and her colleagues were able to show that during this translation-like cycle the newly made ribosome subunit initially joins with its complementary preexisting subunit to form a much larger complex through the influence of a single translation factor.

This large ribosome complex contains no messenger RNA, which is blocked by assembly factors, and thus produces no protein. Once the major functions of the smaller ribosome subunit have been inspected and approved, another translation factor breaks up the complex and actual protein production occurs.

"What is important here is that the test cycle involves the same translational factors that are involved in normal translation," Karbstein said. "It's the most elegant and efficient way to produce perfect ribosomes."

Interestingly, the study noted, the majority of assembly factors involved in this translation-like test cycle are conserved in creatures ranging from one-celled organisms to humans, suggesting that this evolutionary mechanism is common to all.


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Contact: Mika Ono
mikaono@scripps.edu
Scripps Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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