Biochemical controls: controlling cell protein output (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 31, 2022, 19:20 (182 days ago) @ David Turell

The body has control systems that drive production and slow production in a tight fashion:

"Cells produce proteins like little factories. But if they make too much at the wrong times it can lead to diseases like cancer, so they control production with a process called RNA interference (RNAi).


"They [a research group] recently discovered how RNAi's workhorse protein Argonaute (Ago) leverages limited resources to keep protein production on track.

"It's important to understand exactly how RNAi works because it's such a basic and heavily used process, Joshua-Tor said. It also offers a kind of safety net for therapeutics because it doesn't make permanent changes to cells and can be reversed.


"Ago helps cut off protein production by finding, binding, and destroying molecules called mRNA—which tell cells to make proteins. But the amount of Ago in the body pales in comparison to the amount of mRNA it must target. After destroying one MRNA molecule, the protein is still capable of finding another but it can't move on without help. Bibel discovered how cells use a process called phosphorylation to break Ago's grip on a mRNA target, allowing it to commute to the next.

"Bibel explains that their "theory is that having phosphorylation promote release is a way that you could free up Argonaute because when the target gets released, the guide's still there and it's super duper stable. So our thinking is that by phosphorylating it, you're going to free it to go repress other targets—because it's still totally capable of doing that work.'"

Comment: more evidence of purposeful design. Controlling production rates is vital, so start and stop controls must be designed together all at once.

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