The timely degradation of proteins is necessary for life. In the model bacterium Caulobacter crescentus, destruction of the replication initiator protein DnaA by the Lon protease is important for stress responses. New work from the Chien lab now published in Molecular Microbiology (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mmi.13537/abstract) has revealed that an auxiliary protease pathway is also involved in controlling DnaA. Limiting the accumulation of this essential factor is critical as too much replication is toxic under the incorrect conditions. The ability of cells to use two proteolytic pathways to control an essential replication factor is an excellent strategy to ensure robust control under different growth conditions.
Chien Lab Publishes Paper in Molecular Microbiology: The Many Paths of Destruction
Professor Gershenson to Deliver Invited Talk Titled "In Silico to In-Cell Folding of Metastable Serpins" at the 30th Anniversary Symposium of the Protein Society
Profs. Gershenson, Gierasch and Hebert Untangle Disease-Related Protein Misfolding
Dong Wang and Li-Jun Ma Recognized for Research at International Meeting
Dong Wang and Li-Jun Ma were recognized for their research at the 17th International Congress of the International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions in Portland, Oregon. This meeting highlights research areas including the microbiome, tritrophic interactions, RNA-mediated interactions, systems biology, resistance mechanisms, mutualism and microbial virulence functions. Read More.
UMass Amherst Announces 2016 ‘Armstrong Fund for Science’ Awards
A team of four University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers are the Armstrong Fund for Science winners for 2016. This winning team consists of faculty from the departments of biochemistry and molecular biology and microbiology, including Li-Jun Ma, a fungal biologist recently named as a Burroughs Wellcome Fund investigator in the pathogenesis of infectious disease, Sergey Savinov, a chemist, and two microbiologists, Michele Klingbeil and Yasu Morita. Read more.
UMass Amherst Biological Chemist Lila Gierasch Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced the election of 213 new members, including biological chemist Lila Gierasch, Distinguished Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, along with some of the world’s most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, artists and civic, business and philanthropic leaders. Read more.
Lila Gierasch Named New Editor in Chief of Journal of Biological Chemistry
Anne Gershenson Co-Leads Science Workshop for Regional Girl Scout Troop
Team Led by Dong Wang Discovers New Gene Process
A team of molecular biologists led by Dong Wang at UMass Amherst, working with the alfalfa-clover Medicago truncatula, has found how a gene in the host plant encodes a protein that recognizes the cell membrane surrounding the symbiotic bacteria, then directs other proteins to harvest the nutrients. Details appear online in the January edition of Nature Plants. As Wang explains, plants often recruit microbes to help them satisfy their nutritional needs, offering the products of photosynthesis as a reward. A process used by most land plants depends on asymbiotic relationship with mycorrhizal fungi. These form structures known as arbuscules that help plants capture phosphorus, sulfur, nitrogen and other micronutrients from the soil. This method is akin to scavenging, Wang says, because the amount of nitrogen available in soil is quite limited. Read more.
Ma named Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigator
Prof. Li-Jun Ma has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund to develop new antifungal therapies using the model fungus Fusarium oxysporum to combat the growing resistance to anti-fungal compounds, a growing problem in both clinical and agricultural settings. Read more.
Cheung/Wu lab reports broader role for FERONIA receptor kinase
Profs. Alice Cheung and Hen-ming Wu report in the journal eLife that FERONIA receptor kinase, from the model plant Arabidopsis, is necessary throughout the growth of the plant, not only for reproduction. Read more.