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A Swiss army knife for RNA degradation

Specialized regions within the exossome uncovered by researchers
A Swiss army knife for RNA degradation

Specialization of the exossome

Oeiras, 09.12.08

The exosome is a protein complex involved in RNA degradation and processing. But more than a simple degradation machine, the exossome appears to have specialized regions for different functions, much like a swiss army knife. This is the conclusion of a joint work by ITQB researchers and researchers from the University of Texas – Houston, published this week in the online edition of Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.

It is known that the exosome can chew up RNA molecules from one end, i.e. it has exonulcease activity. Now researchers have demonstrated that in yeast this protein complex also has endonuclease activity, that is to say it can cut RNA molecules in pieces, just like a pair of scissors. And each enzymatic activity requires different exosome domains. Furthermore, there are specific exosome regions for different sorts of RNA molecules.

The exosome contains domains with specific endoribonuclease, exoribonuclease and cytoplasmic mRNA decay activities

Daneen Schaeffer, Borislava Tsanova, Ana Barbas, Filipa Pereira Reis, Eeshita Ghosh Dastidar, Maya Sanchez-Rotunno, Cecília Maria Arraiano & Ambro van Hoof

Nature Structural & Molecular Biology
Published online: 7 December 2008 | doi:10.1038/nsmb.1528

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