People infected with SARS-CoV-2 experience a large range in severity of infection. Menna Clatworthy’s group has taken part in the largest study of its type to investigate differences in the immune response that could explain this variation.
Telomerase is a vital enzyme which synthesizes telomeric repeats at eukaryotic chromosome ends to compensate for loss generated by incomplete genome replication. Kelly Nguyen’s group has produced the first atomic structure of the complex and revealed histones as novel subunits.
Repetitive peptides from the C9orf72 gene contribute to the most prevalent form of motor neurone disease, but it has been unclear how. Simon Bullock’s group help show how these peptides bind to both motor proteins and microtubule tracks to block neuronal transport.
The advent of brain organoid technology has enabled scientists to begin to ask what makes us human. Madeline Lancaster’s group has identified differences in early brain development that can help to explain the increased number of neurons in human brains over other apes.
Rare lipids in our cell membranes act as postcodes to operate regulatory processes such as autophagy and endocytosis. Roger Williams, together with Sean Munro’s and John Brigg’s groups, have shown how the G-proteins Rab1 and Rab5 activate these processes respectively, through conformational changes of kinase VPS34 complexes.
A powerful strategy to study protein function has been to deplete a protein of interest from the cell and then study the consequences. Leo James’ group has exploited new understanding of TRIM21’s mechanism of activation to develop new tools for targeted protein degradation.