Friday, 02 November, 2012
“Crocodile head” sets transcription off
The translation of genetic information into proteins is indispensable for cell function and survival. LMU scientists now reveal the structure of one of the molecular machines involved in the process. Its shape resembles a crocodile’s head.
The proper development of all organisms depends on the regulated expression of the right genes in the right place at the right time, ensuring that each cell can synthesize the proteins required for its particular function. The first step in this process is gene transcription, the synthesis of RNA copies of a defined stretch of the genomic DNA. In higher organisms, the selection of DNA segments for transcription is largely controlled by a large molecular complex consisting of 25-35 proteins, the so-called Mediator complex.