Cell biology: Bean counting

    Cell 133, 627–639 (2008) 10.1016/j.cell.2008.03.030

    A newly identified protein complex allows cells to vary the rate at which they make ribosomes — the factories that translate RNA into protein — in response to how much energy is available. Ribosome production is the most energetically expensive thing that eukaryotic cells do, so the complex has an important role in cell survival.

    A team led by Junn Yanagisawa of the University of Tsukuba in Japan isolated a protein complex called NoSC that controls transcription of ribosomal RNA, the main component of ribosomes, in response to the ratio of NAD+ to NADH molecules, a signal of the available energy in a cell. NoSC contains a previously uncharacterized protein, named nucleomethylin, that binds one of the histone proteins with which DNA is packaged. It also comprises SIRT1, a protein made in response to caloric restriction and SUV39H1, which can alter gene expression.

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    Cell biology: Bean counting. Nature 453, 566 (2008) doi:10.1038/453566b

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