Protein synthesis & degradation

Shifting paradigms in the regulation
of protein functions

Until the discovery of ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis in the 1980s, central dogma dictated that protein translation was the point of functional regulation. Now it is believed that spatial and temporal regulation of protein functions can be achieved either during translation or by controlled proteolysis through the proteasome or the more recently characterized autophagy pathway. This 2016 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting theme will consider how, as new tools and methods are developed, unanticipated paradigms are being formed in this complex and exciting field.

A new paradigm in translation regulation

RNA makes up the functional centers of the ribosome and is the building block of its enzymatic activity. The first session will explore how different types of RNA regulate protein synthesis.

Lego them up

Building with LEGOs often involves dealing with misassembled, missing or extra pieces. The cell faces a similar problem when it comes to the expression of giant protein complexes, such as the proteasome and nuclear pore complex. The second session will explore the emerging mechanisms the cell uses to build complex molecular machines. 

The good, the bad and the ugly

The cell handles critical regulation of protein functions through diverse quality control programs, licensing only “good” polypeptides to function while sentencing “bad” ones for destruction. The third session will focus on newly discovered quality control pathways as well as unconventional mechanisms.

Why it takes so many proteins to destroy one

The proteasome and autophagy systems are surprisingly complex as exemplified by the large number of regulators required to destroy a single protein molecule. The last session’s discussion will center on how these regulators cooperate and why a cell and a multicellular organism need so many of them to maintain fitness.


Christine Dunham

Christine Dunham, Emory University

Yihong Yez

Yihong Ye, National Institutes of Health