Translation

Special proteins for stressed cells

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Science  05 Jun 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6239, pp. 1103-1104
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6239.1103-d

Stress, in the form of high temperatures, causes cells to shut down the translation of most messenger RNAs (mRNAs). At the same time, stress activates the synthesis of a small number of proteins needed for cell survival and recovery, but how? To find out, Zhang et al. exposed human tissue culture cells to heat stress and found that they produced an alternative form of the protein MRPL18, which is normally part of mitochondrial ribosomes. When stressed, cells express this alternative form of MRPL18 and incorporate it into cytosolic ribosomes, large protein complexes required for translation. These modified ribosomes can engage and efficiently translate mRNAs needed for stress survival.

Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. 22, 404 (2015).

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