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MSKCC researchers uncover structure of key protein complex in cells

l ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like conjugation."

Dr. Nikola Pavletich, Chairman of the Structural Biology program at the Sloan-Kettering Institute, and an expert in ubiquitin, said the latest work "has given us a new view and a detailed understanding" of the process of sumoylation and should lead to a better grasp of SUMO and ubiquitin. "Identifying the additional roles of sumoylation may well provide us with new targets to inhibit the protein and therapeutic agents for cancer and other conditions in which SUMO is involved."

The study also casts light on a poorly understood aspect of cellular communication. The MSKCC researchers believe the protein complex they have observed is assembled at nuclear pore complexes, portals that connect the nucleus with the cytoplasm beyond. These conduits permit the transfer of information both to and from the nucleus, and are vital to proper cell function.

"The next step in this research is to probe the importance of the contacts observed in our structure with the biochemical activities and effects on the cell itself of disrupting these contacts," Dr. Lima said. He and his colleagues are now studying these interactions in yeast.


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Source:Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center


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