To dismantle the power plants of cells

During their research, scientists have found Icp55 enzyme that plays an important role in stabilizing proteins in the mitochondria. Until now it was unclear how cell accomplished this. Icp55 proves to be a molecular scissors snips one end of some proteins, so that these proteins are processed instability to a stable form.“We are now able to identify the forms of proteins that have simply been overlooked before,” Kris Gevaert continues. “As we receive requests for scientific collaborations across the world.”

COFRADIC is a technology developed by VIB / Ghent University researchers Vandekerckhove and Kris Gevaert Jo L. COFRADIC with the traditional view of protein identification has been turned upside down. Instead of separating intact proteins before, the whole protein mixture is cut into small pieces (peptides) – which are more soluble and easier to separate for further analysis. Applying this method to samples provided by German scientists has revealed a new protein (Icp55) – which proved to be the key to explain the stabilization of proteins in the mitochondria, a mystery has been solved so far.

All life is based on the interactions of millions of proteins. These are the building blocks for cells and form the molecular mechanisms of life. The problem is that proteins are extremely difficult to study, especially because there are so many of them, and appear in all sizes and weights. Now, Kris Gevaert VIB / Ghent University and his colleagues from the Universities of Freiburg and Bochum have made a breakthrough in the search for proteins. Using yeast, are able to complete the inventory of almost all proteins in the mitochondria, the energy producers in each cell. Their results were published in Cell, the most prestigious professional journal in the field of life sciences.

“This is a crucial step in basic research on proteins, the building blocks of life,” said Kris Gevaert, VIB researchers at Ghent University. “For the first time a precise determination of the protein of mitochondria has been reached. Our discovery was made possible by COFRADIC, a technology that allows us to analyze mixtures of proteins much more sensitive and accurate.”

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