research advances

Synopses of important developments in the field of structural biology and structural genomics, including advances from the Protein Structure Initiative. The featured articles and technical highlights are specially written for the Structural Biology Knowledgebase, while the research highlights are taken from NPG publications.

January 2009

  • featured articles

    • A new class of bacterial E3 ubiquitination enzymes

      A structurally and mechanically distinct class of ubiquitin ligases has been discovered, and a single mutation changes this enzyme from a ligase to a potent thioesterase.

      Nature Struct. Mol. Biol. 15, 1293-1301 (2008)

    • Poly(A) RNA recognition

      Homodimerization of type II poly(A)-binding proteins prevents binding in the absence of RNA.

      Proc Natl Acad Sci. USA 105, 15317-15322 (2008)

  • research highlights

    • Hotwiring protein regulation

      An algorithm for identifying allosteric mechanisms allows researchers to assemble a functional multidomain protein and may offer new evolutionary insights.

      Science 322, 438-442 (2008)

    • Protein stability: GPS for proteomes

      A new technique analyses global protein stability in live cells, in real time and with single-cell resolution.

      Science 322, 918-923 (2008)

    • Protein translocation: Surfing the channel

      Three papers provide insight into how the cytoplasmic ATPase SecA moves polypeptides through the SecY channel.

      Nature 455, 936-943 (2008)

  • technical highlights

    • An “X-ray” ruler

      X-ray scattering from gold-labelled, double-stranded DNA is a powerful technique for investigating nucleic acid structure.

      Science 322, 446-449 (2008)

    • Speedy cloning and mutagenesis for structural genomics

      A ligase-independent approach to cloning rapidly produces large numbers of constructs for expression testing and crystallization trials.

      Proteins 71, 982-994 (2008)

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