A research team of scientists from EMBL Grenoble and the IGBMC in Strasbourg, France, have, for the first time, described in molecular detail the architecture of the central scaffold of TFIID: the human protein complex essential for transcription from DNA to mRNA. The study, published today in Nature, opens new perspectives in the study of transcription and of the structure and mechanism of other large multi-protein assemblies involved in gene regulation.
By controlling the transcription of DNA into messenger RNA, TFIID forms the cornerstone of the machinery that controls gene expression in our cells. Despite its crucial role, very little was known about its architecture. TFIID is present at very low levels in cells, and it is a very large protein complex made of 20 subunits: this combination largely prevented previous attempts to purify it and decipher its structure and function in molecular detail. Even the most advanced methods for recombinant protein production met their limits when trying to produce its various subunits in the right proportions.
The solution to this bottleneck came from studying the strategy certain viruses, such as Coronaviruses, use when they replicate: they produce very long protein chains that are then divided into individual proteins. Mimicking this technique led to highly abundant and correctly assembled complexes of the core scaffold of TFIID (comprising 10 subunits), which could be purified and analysed at high resolution by combining electron microscopy and data from X-ray crystallography.
"We know now in some detail what the core of TFIID looks like, and what happens when further subunits are bound. We believe that we have opened the door to determining the architecture of the entire human TFIID complex in the near future, and likewise of other large multiprotein assemblies involved in gene regulation, and to explain their roles in catalysing biological function," concludes Imre Berger, coordinator of the study at EMBL.
European Molecular Biology Laboratory: http://www.embl.org
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
Get the full the story behind a $761 jar of peanut butter and other exorbitantly priced everyday objects used by scientists
Satellite imagery shows 20 new craters around holes discovered last year in Siberia
Young maths whizz from Iran uses simple equations to paint stunning images that bizarrely look like marine objects, and makes a fractal Africa
A new breed of the hyper-accurate clocks could help scientists detect the elusive ripples in space-time faster and cheaper
Replacing the spark plugs in engines with lasers could lead to more complete fuel combustion and greener cars
After a two-year hiatus, the Large Hadron Collider will restart soon, twice as strong and with some "dark" mysteries to unlock
Global antibiotic resistance is imperilling our existence. We need clever ways to find new bug-beating drugs
If dark matter turns out to interact with photons, its glow would be visible at the edges of spiral galaxies – now we just have to find it
There may be an 'inner inner' core at the heart of the planet
Study unravels physics of kernel – water contained in the shell rapidly escapes as steam under heat, making the corn ‘pop’