From the laboratory to the audience: the UCLouvain discovery found in biochemistry books around the world
AND BREF :
• Researchers from UCLouvain have just made a discovery that will benefit scientists around the world and will be recorded in the planet’s biochemistry books!
• Discovery ? The UCLouvain team has found that a well-known protein in the labs, GroEL, actually works with a partner to protect cells
• Interest? This discovery, published in the prestigious scientific journal Cell, opens a new chapter in the life of this protein and in understanding the mechanisms involved in diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
ARTICLE : HTTPS://WWW.CELL.COM/CELL/FULLTEXT/S0092-8674(23)00043-0
Jean-François Collet, researcher at the de Duve Institute of UCLouvain and welbio investigator, and his team, have just made a discovery that will benefit scientists around the world.
Each living cell produces thousands of proteins, essential for life. A protein is made as a long filament: in this form, the protein is inactive. To be functional, it must quickly adopt a defined shape: we speak of the folding of a protein, because the filament folds up to adopt, for example, the shape of a helix. Some diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease, are linked to problems with protein folding.
Living cells produce chaperones that help proteins fold quickly and correctly, especially in times of danger. A chaperone, GroEL, has been extensively studied around the world and is used as an example of a chaperone in most biology textbooks. The scientific world thought it knew everything about it… until the discovery of UCLouvain: the team of Jean-François Collet (Emile Dupuy and Camille Goeman), in collaboration with other colleagues from UCLouvain (Yves Dufrêne ), and from VUB, EMBL, CNRS and the University of Nebraska, found that GroEL is, in fact, working with a partner, CnoX, to work properly.
Concretely, inside the cell, proteins have to face various threats, often unexpected. It is as if a person finds himself in the middle of a battlefield, looking for a shelter to protect himself. Scientists already knew that proteins were not alone in this situation: they benefit from the help of a guardian, GroEL, to protect and shelter them. What Jean-François Collet’s team has therefore managed to capture in a photo is the interaction between this GroEL guardian and his hitherto unknown partner, CnoX.
The interest of this unexpected discovery? If it has no direct impact on patients or treatments, it will allow scientists around the world to better study how proteins survive in the cell, a step forward in understanding the mechanisms involved in diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
Moreover, this discovery has a great chance of being recorded in biochemistry books and thus of being taught to future health specialists.
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