A new repair system which uses chloroplast extracts and lights to release interrupting sequences from a protein was reported by research specialist Stephen Campbell and Professor David Stern at the Boyce Thompson Institute.
While many proteins contain extra sequences, called insertions, that disrupt a protein's function, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has a protein (RB47) that is capable of cutting the extra RNA, effectively removing the unnecessary sequences. It is likely this RNA-cutting protein helps restore function to the protein.
The addition of insertions and repair systems could be useful for producing pharmaceuticals or protein products, such as cancer drugs, in culture which would otherwise kill the cell. It's also interesting from a purely research-based standpoint. "If it is happening in plants, is it happening in animals?" said Stern. "We're pretty sure that this protein is just one example; that we have only found the tip of the iceberg."
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