The formation of protein complexes is a highly organized process that does not begin with the "finished" proteins. Researchers demonstrate that they form in a coordinated way when the protein subunits are synthesized.
Our findings fundamentally alter our understanding of how biologically active protein complexes form in the cell. The study was published in Nature
Biological processes in cells are driven by thousands of different proteins that are assembled into functionally active protein complexes. The proteins are actually manufactured on the so-called ribosome, which catalyzes protein biosynthesis.
During the process, amino acids are assembled into chains and folded to form the protein. "Until now we assumed that the subunits of the protein complexes found one another through diffusion and random encounters.
Experiments conducted by Dr. Ayala Shiber on eukaryotes presented a different picture, however. The growing protein chains are already bound by other subunits that protein production and biologically active protein complexes can be temporally and spatially coordinated.
This safe efficient complex formation, according to Dr. Shiber, the lead author of the study. The molecular biologist from Israel and Alexander von Humboldt is a member of Prof. Buku's research group and works at the "Cellular Surveillance and Damage Response" Collaborative Research Center (CRC 1036) at Heidelberg University.