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科学美国人60秒双语科学新闻综合篇:蛋白质的第二份工作

Lily85 于2013-04-01发布 l 已有人浏览
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秘密身份不再专属于超级英雄。研究人员发现一种普遍存在于动物体内(从变形虫到人类)的蛋白质正过着双重生活。一旦将它与DNA绑定,这种叫做RfaH的蛋白质就会分裂,然后
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Secret identities aren't just for superheroes anymore. Researchers have found that a protein present in everything from amoebas to people is living a double life. Once it binds to DNA, the protein, called RfaH, rips apart—and then refolds into a different shape, to do a different job.
秘密身份不再专属于超级英雄。研究人员发现一种普遍存在于动物体内(从变形虫到人类)的蛋白质正过着双重生活。一旦将它与DNA绑定,这种叫做RfaH的蛋白质就会分裂,然后折叠形成形状迥异,分工不同的另一种蛋白质。

RfaH is a transcription protein—attached to or freed from a stretch of DNA, it determines if a gene is expressed or not. But once the protein has carried out its task, its helical structure unravels. Within seconds, it refolds into a barrel structure, which has a new role, this time in translation, where it helps the cell produce amino acids for new proteins. The study is in the journal Cell.
RfaH是一种转录蛋白因子,它粘附于一簇DNA序列,或者脱离DNA序列独立存在。由它来决定是否表达某个基因。但是一旦蛋白质执行完任务,它的螺旋结构就会崩溃。不出几秒,它又重组成桶锥形结构,这次它扮演新的角色,即在基因转译过程中帮助细胞产生氨基酸,以生成新的蛋白质。这项研究发表在《细胞》杂志上。

The next step is to find out if the barrel can refold into the helix. After that, researchers want to see if proteins similar to RfaH—which are present in all life on Earth—are capable of comparable molecular contortion. Which would mean a lot more bang for our protein buck.
下一阶段就是要研究桶锥状结构是否会重新变回螺旋状结构。之后,科学家们想知道类似于RfaH普遍存在于动物体内的蛋白质是否能扭曲分子。如果能则意味着蛋白质能给我们带来更多的回报。

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