Insight on Research


The mother’s role in protecting the fetal genome from aldehyde damage is revealed.

Whilst a mother’s metabolism provides essential nutrients to enable embryonic development, both mother and embryo can also produce reactive metabolites that can damage DNA. Research undertaken by Nina Oberbeck in KJ Patel’s group, in the LMB’s PNAC Division, has uncovered how the embryo is protected from these genotoxins.
Birth defects are common and are a substantial burden to human health, but their causes are complex and often due to many factors.

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How cells adapt proteasome assembly under stress conditions

Research carried out by Anne Bertolotti’s group in the LMB’s Neurobiology Division has identified a novel protein, named Adc17, that acts as an inducible chaperone to help cells make more proteasome when needed.
Cells and organisms constantly need to adapt to maintain protein homeostasis under adverse stress conditions in order to avoid cell death.  Cells have evolved numerous and sophisticated protein quality control systems to adapt to changes in their environment.

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Revealing the secrets of human gamma-secretase by cryo-EM

The latest advances in cryo electron microscopy have enabled Sjors Scheres’ group, from the LMB’s Structural Studies Division, together with collaborators from Beijing in China, to solve the structure of human gamma-secretase, a membrane protein complex that has an important role in Alzheimer’s disease.
Gamma-secretase is made up of four different proteins which are all embedded within the cell membrane.

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How to get your (dynein) motor running

A cross divisional collaboration at the LMB between the groups of Simon Bullock, in Cell Biology, and Andrew Carter, in Structural Studies, has provided new insight into the activation of the large molecular motor dynein, a critical component of the transport system that operates within cells.
The cells within living organisms contain an elaborate transport system that moves different components to the right part of the cell at the right time.

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Cryo-EM reveals mammalian protein export machinery

A collaborative team from LMB’s Cell Biology and Structural Studies Divisions has visualized the mammalian protein synthesis and export machinery at near-atomic resolution. The new research helps explain how secreted proteins, such as hormones, can cross an otherwise impermeable membrane to exit the cell.
It has long been appreciated that cells communicate with each other via proteins that are either secreted or embedded in the cell’s surface.

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How does biology make tubes?

During the development of an organism, whether it be a worm, fly, dog or human being, the early embryo must build different structures which will later become the body’s organs. Many structures within an organism are tubular: the veins and arteries; the gut; as well as the kidneys and lungs.

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Insights into how the Fanconi Anaemia core complex activates DNA repair

Research carried out by Eeson Rajendra from Lori Passmore’s group in the LMB’s Structural Studies Division, in close collaboration with KJ Patel from the LMB’s PNAC Division, has brought together LMB expertise in protein biochemistry and genetics to study the disease Fanconi Anaemia (FA). For the first time, they have isolated the intact FA core complex, and demonstrated which subunits are essential for monoubiquitination of FANCD2, which initiates the repair of damaged DNA in cells.

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Novel lipid kinase structure lays the foundation for a new class of drugs

A collaboration between Roger Williams’ group here in the LMB’s Protein and Nucleic Acid Chemistry Division and Kevan Shokat’s group at the University of California, San Francisco has provided insight into potential targets for the design of a new class of anti-viral drugs.
Enteroviruses cause diseases including polio; hand, foot and mouth disease and the common cold, and there are currently no anti-viral treatments available to combat them.

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Graphene: stronger than steel and now suitable for biological electron microscopy

Lori Passmore and Chris Russo from the LMB’s Structural Studies Division have discovered how to modify the new material graphene using low-energy hydrogen plasmas, to allow it to bind proteins. This discovery makes it suitable for use in electron microscopy to solve protein structures.
Graphene, which was only discovered in 2004, is a two-dimensional carbon sheet that is one of the strongest and thinnest materials known.

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New technique identifies protein production in specific cells at specific times

Research undertaken by Jason Chin’s group, in the LMB’s Centre for Chemical and Synthetic Biology (CCSB), part of the Protein and Nucleic Acid Chemistry Division, has successfully developed a novel and versatile technique to identify proteins produced in a particular set of cells at a particular time.
Individual sets of cells in the body of an animal are specialised to do different things.

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