Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) Division scientists led by Eva Nogales have resolved the 3-D structure of a critical human cellular protein complex involved in DNA transcription and repair at an unprecedented level of resolution. The complex, called transcription factor II human (TFIIH), unzips the DNA double helix so that genes can be accessed and read. Malfunctions of the complex are associated with premature aging, cancer propensity, and a variety of other defects. One challenge with solving the structure of TFIIH has been that it exists in such minute amounts that it is difficult to produce and purify in large quantities. Moreover, once obtained, it may not form crystals suitable for X-ray diffraction. The researchers used cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), a technique in which purified samples are flash-frozen at ultra cold temperatures, and which works even on very small quantities. “The fact that we resolved this protein structure from human cells makes this even more relevant to disease research,” said Nogales. Basil Greber, a postdoctoral fellow in Nogales’s lab, was first author on the study published in the journal Nature. Computational research scientist Pavel Afonine and MBIB Division Director Paul Adams also contributed to the project. Read more from the Berkeley Lab News Center.
Panorea Avdis, Director of Governor Brown’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), visited the Biosciences Area’s Emery Station Operations Center on September 6 to learn more about the biosciences and bioeconomy related initiatives. GO-Biz was created to serve as California’s single point of contact for economic development and job creation efforts and is an important one-stop shop for companies that want to take advantage of California incentives.More »
Amy Herr is one of three recipients of the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce’s Visionary of the Year award for 2017. The honor is bestowed annually to local innovators tackling real-world challenges with “imagination and persistence.” Herr is a professor of bioengineering at UC Berkeley and a Berkeley Lab Biosciences Area faculty engineer with a primary appointment in Biological Systems and Engineering (BSE) and a secondary appointment in Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB). Her research focus is on inventing tools to analyze the levels of various proteins within single cells, which has applications for the treatment of diseases such as cancer. Read more from UC Berkeley News.
Nikos Kyrpides, head of the Prokaryote Super Program at the Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) and a senior scientist in the Biosciences Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology (EGSB) division, was selected as the 2018 USFCC/J. Roger Porter Award recipient by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). He will be honored at the 2018 ASM Microbe Meeting in Atlanta, Ga. The award recognizes outstanding effort by a scientist in demonstrating the importance of microbial biodiversity through sustained curation or stewardship of a major resource used by the scientific community. For more than a decade, Kyrpides and his colleagues have been working toward the goal of developing a comprehensive catalog of reference genomes for every bacterial and archaeal species. Read more from JGI.
A team of Berkeley Lab researchers conducted X-ray footprinting mass spectrometry (XFMS) experiments at the Lab’s Advanced Light Source (ALS) to pinpoint how a protein of the bacterium Shewanella oneidensis transfers electrons to a metal oxide substrate. The research was led by Caroline Ajo-Franklin, whose lab is part of the Molecular Foundry and who holds a secondary appointment in the Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) division, in collaboration with Corie Ralston, also of MBIB. Tatsuya Fukushima, a former postdoc in Ajo-Franklin’s lab, and Sayan Gupta, a member of Ralston’s lab, were co-first authors on the paper published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. The study, which identified an unexpectedly small and weak binding site, also benefitted from expertise and tools contributed by Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) and Biological Systems and Engineering (BSE) researchers Christopher Petzold and Leanne Jade Chan. Read more at the Berkeley Lab News Center.