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Structure of iron regulatory protein-RNA complex solved

we didn't expect was that that opening up would also involve extensive movement within the domains."

The researchers also found two widely separated contact sites between IRP1 and the iron responsive element, said Karl Volz, associate professor in of microbiology and immunology at UIC and principle investigator of the study.

"This is one of the highest affinity bindings we have ever seen. The effect of binding a single iron responsive element, through interactions at two separate binding sites, essentially eliminates the possibility of non-specific binding," Volz said.

According to coauthor Elizabeth Theil, senior scientist at the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute in Oakland, Calif., just as drugs targeted to the three-dimensional protein structure emerged in the last century, "knowing how the iron response element RNA is folded in the IRP1 complex is a gift to drug design targeted to 3-D RNA structure -- a developing goal in this century."

The researchers believe the details of the IRP1:IRE interaction are likely also to apply to the other important iron regulatory molecule, IRP2, they wrote in their conclusion. "What remains to be determined is the evolutionary origin and selective advantage of such dramatic conformational plasticity and dual functionality as found in IRP1."


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Contact: Jeanne Galatzer-Levy
jgala@uic.edu
312-996-1583
University of Illinois at Chicago
21-Dec-2006


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