Study uncovers key step in cell protein production

phys.org | 8/14/2012 | Staff
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Scientists at the University of Sheffield have discovered how genes create proteins in research which could aid the development of treatments for human diseases.

Proteins are the building blocks of life and our cells make them based on instructions from our DNA. These instructions that have to be transported from the cell nucleus, which holds the DNA, to the cytoplasm where proteins are made.

Research - Professor - Stuart - Wilson - University

The research, led by Professor Stuart Wilson from the University of Sheffield's Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, revealed how our cells know when these instructions, known as mRNA, are ready to be transported. The findings will help our understanding of some cancers and conditions such as motor neurone disease, which are linked to faults in protein production.

The research is published today in Molecular Cell.

Professor - Stuart - Wilson - Researcher - University

Professor Stuart Wilson, lead researcher from the University of Sheffield, explained: "If the mRNA is transported before the processing is complete, then it is a disaster for the cell, which can't make proteins and ultimately dies. Faults in this process are behind many human diseases. So it's vitally important, not just that the processing is done correctly, but the cell knows when this is complete."

The team, from the Sheffield Institute for Nucleic Acids, found that molecules known as 'export factors' - which help transport the mRNA—also signal to the cell when the processing is complete by moving their position on the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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