Venki Ramakrishnan’s group, from the LMB’s Structural Studies Division, has provided structural evidence for how bacterial transfer-messenger RNA (tmRNA) rescues stalled ribosomes at the end of prematurely truncated or defective messenger RNAs and targets incompletely synthesised proteins for degradation. tmRNA (also known as 10S RNA) combines properties of both transfer RNA (tRNA) and messenger RNA (mRNA) and works in concert with Small Protein B (SmpB).
A group of collaborative researchers, led by Leo James’ group in the LMB’s PNAC Division, have discovered evidence that helps to explain why primates are more resistant to HIV than humans are.
Rhesus macaques are protected against HIV by a protein, Rhesus TRIMCyp (RhTC), which targets HIV inside cells thereby preventing infection. However, how RhTC targeted HIV viruses and why it remained effective, given the diversity of viral strains and their capacity for mutation, was unclear.
For cells to perform their elaborate functions, various components must be delivered to the right place at the right time. This is dependent on the cellular equivalent of a railway system; tiny protein machines called molecular motor complexes transport cargoes to their destination by traversing a network of polarized tracks within the cell. However, it is not clear how transport is coordinated by the motor complexes and how different cargoes are delivered to different destinations.
Felix Randow’s group in the LMB’s PNAC Division has identified Galectin-8 as a novel danger receptor and factor of the cellular machinery that protects human cells against bacterial invasion. Galectin 8, a sugar-binding protein in the cytosol, was discovered to be a key component in limiting the growth of Salmonella and to participate in the early line of defence against infection.
Matthew Freeman’s group in the LMB’s Cell Biology Division have discovered a novel protein, iRhom2, that plays a central role in the signalling pathways that regulate inflammation and cancer.
The cytokine protein, TNF, is the primary trigger of inflammation in humans. To function, active TNF must be shed from cells by the protease TACE. TACE is also responsible for the cleavage of many important growth factors, that when deregulated can contribute to cancer.
Andrew McKenzie’s group in the LMB’s PNAC Division have shown for the first time that a new immune cell type, the nuocyte, can orchestrate the initiation of allergic asthma in an experimental model. Nuocytes were shown to cause airway hyperactivity – a key feature of human asthma.