Quality control mechanism closes the protein production ‘on-ramps’ in cells

Quality control mechanism closes the protein production 'on-ramps'
An illustration of stalled ribosomes as stalled cars on a freeway. New work shows that factors GIGYF2 and 4EHP prevent translation from being initiated on problematic messenger RNA fragments. This is akin to closing an on-ramp to prevent additional traffic backups after an incident. Credit: Kamena Kostova and Navid Marvi.

Recent work led by Carnegie’s Kamena Kostova revealed a new quality control system in the protein production assembly line with possible implications for understanding neurogenerative disease.

The DNA that comprises the chromosomes housed in each cell’s nucleus encodes the recipes for how to make proteins, which are responsible for the majority of the physiological actions that sustain life. Individual recipes are transcribed using messenger RNA, which carries this piece of code to a piece of cellular machinery called the ribosome. The ribosome translates the message into amino acids—the building blocks of proteins.

But sometimes messages get garbled. The resulting incomplete

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