Novel Compound Halts Ribosome Assembly
News Sep 29, 2016
New research based at The Rockefeller University in yeast has identified a compound that interferes with the process by which ribosomes themselves are assembled. The results, described September 22 in Cell, open the door to the development of new medicines.
“Not only does this compound efficiently inhibit the growth of yeast cells, it does so through a unique mechanism. No drug currently on the market interferes with ribosomal assembly,” says senior author Tarun Kapoor, Pels Family Professor and head of the Selma and Lawrence Ruben Laboratory of Chemistry and Cell Biology.
“We believe this compound may be a catalyst for the development of new fungi-fighting medications. This is an exciting prospect: No antifungals with new mechanisms of action have been approved for the past several years,” he added.
Every minute, a growing cell can generate about 2,000 nano-scale factories whose job is to translate genetic sequence into protein. Made of protein as well as RNA, the ribosome is put together by more than 200 worker proteins. Scientists still don’t fully understand how this carefully orchestrated construction takes place.
The new compound, Rbin-1, emerged from a project undertaken by co-first author Shigehiro A. Kawashima, then a postdoc in the lab and now a researcher at The University of Tokyo. Using a sophisticated chemical and genetic screening process that tested more than 10,000 compounds, Kawashima found one, Rbin-1, that appeared to selectively target an enzyme known to be involved in ribosome assembly.
To figure out how Rbin-1 achieved its effect in yeast, Zhen Chen, the other co-first author and a graduate student in the lab, purified the enzyme, called Mdn1. It was a challenging endeavor partly because of the sheer size of the enzyme, which is one of the largest proteins yeast make.
Rbin-1 is not the first compound discovered that can be used to thwart ribosomal assembly, but it’s the first molecule of its kind that might provide a starting point to develop a drug. Unlike other ribosome assembly inhibitors, it is potent, affects only a particular target, and has drug-like chemical properties. Rbin-1 will also be a valuable tool to decipher the fundamental cellular process by which ribosomes are assembled, the researchers say.
New Bioprocessing Technique Set to Revolutionize Cell CultureNews
A technique which revolutionises cell culture by allowing the continuous production and collection of cells, has been developed by scientists at Newcastle University. The Newcastle team have developed a coating that allows individual stromal cells to “peel away” from the surface on which they are grown.READ MORE
Quotient Sciences Acquires Pharmaterials, a UK-based Contract Development and Manufacturing OrganizationNews
Quotient Sciences, the drug development services organization, announces it has acquired Pharmaterials, a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) based in Reading, U.K..READ MORE
Allergy Amplifier Implicated in Asthma Also Intensifies Food AllergyNews
Scientist who previously reported that a small protein, aptly named histamine-releasing factor, played a pro-inflammatory role in asthma have now shown that it also serves as a “food allergy amplifier”. This work paves the way for blood tests to predict which patients will respond to allergy therapy, and strongly supports the idea that drugs designed to block HRF could prevent food allergy attacks.READ MORE