John Briggs’ group has uncovered the atomic structure of M1 matrix proteins, and their ordered arrangement within the influenza A virus, suggesting mechanisms for two critical processes in the infection cycle.
Venki Ramakrishnan’s group has solved the structure of the protein complex formed when mRNA is being scanned to find the start codon, providing new understanding of the molecular mechanisms underpinning initiation of translation.
The brain contains an enormous number of connections, known as synapses. Their loss is associated with many disorders. Radu Aricescu’s group and collaborators in Japan and Germany have designed a molecule that restores synapses in animal disease models, including Alzheimer’s.
Nearly half of the human genome is composed of various forms of DNA repeat. Pierre Murat in Julian Sale’s group has revealed a mechanism that safeguards the genome from pathological expansion of one group of DNA repeats known as STRs.
Proteins embedded in the cellular membrane perform a wide variety of necessary tasks. Most are folded into complex shapes that pass back and forth across the membrane. Patrick Chitwood and Manu Hegde have discovered a new type of chaperone that helps them assemble correctly.
John Briggs’ group has led two new studies of the spike (S) protein that mediates binding to the receptor ACE2 and is the dominant target of the immune system, with applications for development of vaccines and diagnostic tests.