POSTECH – KIST Discovers Protein Decomposition Signal
POSTECH – KIST Discovers Protein Decomposition Signal
  • Reporter Lee Seung-Joo
  • 승인 2018.12.12 13:41
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Prof. Hwang Cheol-sang (LIFE)


POSTECH’s Prof. Hwang Cheol-sang (LIFE) and Korea Institue of Science and Technology (KIST)’s Prof. Lee Cheol-ju (LIFE) have led their research team to the discovery of a mechanism that allows enzyme formylmethionyl-transferase (FMT) to involve itself in protein synthesis to aid eukaryotic species to survive in extreme conditions, and the revelation that enzyme FMT is also highly concerned with protein decomposition. These research results were published in Science magazine on Nov. 8.
Prokaryotes and eukaryotes differ greatly in means of protein synthesis in that eukaryotes form proteins starting from methionine, but prokaryotes start from formylmethionine (FM)- a variant form of methionine. However, as protein synthesis of the mitochondria also starts from FM, scientists suggest that the mitochondria derives from the coevolution of prokaryotic species. Interestingly, the enzyme that creates FM, FMT, is synthesized within the cytoplasm and moved to the mitochondria directly for protein synthesis. 
After 5 years of research, the team uncovered that in eukaryotes. FMT does not move to mitochondria under extreme conditions such as long term low temperatures, or lack of nutrition, and that FMT remains in the cytoplasm to synthesize protein from the FM- imitating the prokaryotic protein synthesis.