07.08.2018

When it’s just right: Keeping the balance in protein aggregation

Zebrafish embryos stained for protein and RNA. Aggregates of Buc (green) in early embryos. Tdrd6a (red) is present in the germ plasm of later embryos, indicated by germ plasm-specific RNA aggregates (blue)

Scientists from the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) in Mainz, Germany, in the laboratory of Prof. René Ketting, have discovered a method by which cells regulate the aggregation of proteins. In neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, the uncontrolled clumping together of proteins into large aggregate structures is a common feature. In an article published in the journal Developmental Cell, Ketting and his team describe how cells in the embryos of zebrafish specifically trigger the aggregation of a certain protein (Bucky ball). This process leads to defining which cells become reproductive cells. Their research gives a rare glimpse into the regulation of protein aggregation processes, which may shed light on what goes wrong in disease.

The full story can be found here and the paper here