Protein’s in the Mail
A busy urban post office
daily sorts thousands of letters and parcels, guiding each to
a particular mailbox somewhere in the city. Each day, every cell
of the human body manufactures millions of proteins, which it
also must continually sort, and route to their final destinations
within the cell. Only when a protein has reached its destination
can it do its assigned work.
But just how do the proteins
get where they need to go? Rockefeller University Professor Günter
Blobel, an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute,
won the 1999 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering
that each cell uses a “ZIP Code”-like system to shuttle proteins
to their intended destinations. Now, new research from Blobel’s
Laboratory of Cell Biology, reported in a recent issue of Cell,
provides a more detailed picture of the “sorting” mechanism used
in the cell’s “post office.”#
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