Navigation Links
Structure of a molecular copy machine
Date:9/26/2011

This press release is available in German.

The mitochondria are the cell's power stations. In animal cells, they supply energy in usable form by converting nutrients into the universal energy currency of the cell, adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Mitochondria possess their own DNA, and are inherited via the maternal line. The mitochondrial DNA codes for a small number of proteins that are essential for energy production in the organelle. The first step in the decoding of this genetic information is the synthesis, or transcription, of RNA copies of the DNA by the enzyme mitochondrial RNA polymerase. The RNA molecules are then used to program protein synthesis. However, exactly how the mitochondrial RNA polymerase actually works has not been clear, as its structure was unknown until now. Biochemist Professor Patrick Cramer, Director of the Gene Center at LMU, in collaboration with Professor Dmitry Temiakov of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (USA), has now determined the architecture of this molecular copy machine. "With the help of a synchrotron as a source of radiation and using the method of X-ray diffraction, we were able to determine the first three-dimensional structure of a human polymerase, the mitochondrial RNA polymerase, in atomic detail," Cramer explains.

Interestingly, the structure shows a certain resemblance to those of the RNA polymerases found in so-called phages. Phages are viruses that specifically attack bacteria and can insert their genomes into those of their bacterial hosts. It is now generally accepted that mitochondria evolved from free-living bacteria that were engulfed by the progenitor of today's animal cells at an early stage in evolution. The similarities observed between the RNA polymerases of mitochondria and phages provide new insights into the evolution of the organelle and its genome. It appears that, in the course of evolution, a phage polymerase gene developed the ability to transcribe the genes in the mitochondrial DNA.

The structure also provides several hints as to how this molecular copy machine functions. "In particular, the structure explains why two other protein factors are necessary to enable the RNA polymerase to bind at the right site on the DNA, and to transcribe the genetic information from this location," says Cramer. The new results represent a significant first step in understanding the function and regulation of the human mitochondrial genome. And this is not just of academic interest: Some drugs used to treat viral infections, such as hepatitis C, have major side-effects, apparently because they inhibit not only the viral polymerase, but also the mitochondrial RNA polymerase of the host cell. The researchers now hope that their new data can help in the design of antiviral drugs that are better tolerated.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Kathrin Bilgeri
kathrin.bilgeri@lmu.de
49-892-180-6938
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitt Mnchen
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Carbon nanostructures form the future of electronics and optoelectronics
2. Structures of important plant viruses determined
3. The structure of the Mre11 protein bound to DNA
4. Scripps research team solves structure of beneficial virus
5. Brain structure provides key to unraveling function of bizarre dinosaur crests
6. Key to function of dinosaur crests found in brain structure
7. How we see objects in depth: The brains code for 3-D structure
8. NSF funds research at Illinois on sustainable biofuels infrastructure
9. Biologists learn structure, mechanism of powerful molecular motor in virus
10. HWI scientist first in world to unravel structure of key breast cancer target enzyme
11. Brain structure assists in immune response, according to Penn vet study
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/23/2017)... -- The report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing Market by Technology ... Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth ... and 2022. Continue Reading ... ... ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 21, 2017 Vigilant Solutions ... serving law enforcement agencies, announced today the appointment of ... director of public safety business development. Mr. ... enforcement experience, including a focus on the aviation transportation ... most recent position, Mr. Sheridan served as the Aviation ...
(Date:3/13/2017)... , March 13, 2017 Future of security: Biometric Face ... ... DERMALOGs Face Matching enables to match face pictures against ... basis to identify individuals. (PRNewsFoto/Dermalog Identification Systems) ... DERMALOG,s "Face Matching" is the fastest software for biometric Face Matching ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2017)... , ... May 23, 2017 ... ... an unlimited source of human cardiovascular cells for research and the development ... makes it possible to generate large numbers of cardiomyocytes (hPSC-CMs). Due to ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Vortex Biosciences , provider of circulating ... prostate circulating tumor cells using Vortex microfluidic technology ” in Nature Precision Oncology on ... Dr. Dino Di Carlo and Dr. Matthew Rettig at the University of California, Los ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Cambridge Semantics , the ... this year’s Bio-IT World Conference and Expo in Boston May 23-25 with ... solution. The Anzo Smart Data Lake is also a finalist for the Best ...
(Date:5/22/2017)... ... May 22, 2017 , ... Cancer ... exhibiting in booth B2 at the Association for Pathology Informatics Annual Summit ... In addition to demonstrating its Cancer Diagnostic Cockpit and Consultation Portal, Inspirata will ...
Breaking Biology Technology: