June 2013

New insight into mechanism of rhomboid proteases

In a minireview recently published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Ya Ha and Yi Xue of the Yale School of Medicine and Yoshinori Akiyama of Kyoto University discuss work done to determine the mechanism of rhomboid proteases. The minireview specifically focuses on research done on the catalytic mechanism and conformation changes in the catalytic core of the E. coli rhomboid protease GlpG.


Revisiting metals in the fifth edition of the thematic minireview series

The Journal of Biological Chemistry’s thematic minireview series “Metals in Biology” is back for a fifth edition. This series features metals in biochemistry and human health and is coordinated by F. Peter Guengerich of Vanderbilt University, a JBC associate editor. The first two editions of “Metals in Biology” discussed iron, copper, selenium, zinc, nickel, vanadium and arsenic, the third focused on iron homeostasis and eukaryotic cells, and the fourth concentrated on metal transport and homeostasis. The latest collection of minireviews covers the molybdenum prosthetic group, or pterin Moco; the biosynthesis of M-cluster molybdenum prosthetic group of nitrogenase; the biosynthesis of the nickel-based metallocenter of the enzyme urease; several of the processing, transport and medical aspects of cobalamins; and the growing roles of heme sensor proteins.


Suggested shorthand for lipid structures identified through mass spectrometry

The June issue of the Journal of Lipid Research features a proposal for standardized terminology for lipid structures elucidated via mass spectrometry. The proposal by Gerhard Liebisch of the University of Regensburg and colleagues would complement the currently used comprehensive classification system for lipids on the LIPID MAPS website.


Hens shift lipid metabolism away from egg-making when stressed

It’s hard to make babies when you’re stressed, even if you are a chicken. In a recent paper in the Journal of Lipid Research, a group of Chinese investigators looked into how stress can disrupt lipid metabolism, a source of reproductive energy, in egg-laying hens.


Understanding the role of hypoxia-inducible factors in melanoma

In Molecular & Cellular Proteomics, a team in France demonstrated that two hypoxia-inducible factors play a critical role in the progression of melanoma.


Professional development for minority scientists at the annual meeting — and beyond

Takita Sumter provides synopses of sessions and special events at the Experimental Biology 2013 conference that were sponsored by the ASBMB Minority Affairs Committee. The well-attended sessions were aimed at expanding the knowledge base of scientists, particularly those from different backgrounds and at early or transitional career stages.


Protein carbonylation

The advent of high-sensitivity mass spectrometers has allowed for the identification of numerous covalent additions to amino acid side chains and has heightened awareness of the role of intermediary metabolism and oxidative stress and major effects of protein structure and function. Indeed, protein propionylation, malonylation, butyrlation and succinylation are but a few of the most recent additions to the acylation nation (1, 2). Linking lipid metabolism and oxidative stress to the covalent modification spectrum is protein carbonylation.


Announcing the ASBMB Public Outreach Website

When it comes to science outreach, one barrier to participation is a lack of information about how to get involved. The irony of this perceived deficit is that there is in fact an (over-)abundance of information available online; however, lacking proper curation, the endless sea of search-engine results can make potential participants feel lost. To ameliorate this problem, the ASBMB Public Outreach Committee, which aims to enhance the ability of ASBMB members to participate in science outreach, has been working to develop an outreach website that aggregates relevant information on existing outreach programs and resources for prospective and active participants.


Leaving the bench and finding the path less discussed but well-traveled

Kristina Wasson Blader writes, "Naively, I started freelancing with only one contact. After joining the American Medical Writers Association that same year, I learned from more established writers that freelance science writing was difficult, if next to impossible, to start doing with little experience, few nonproprietary writing samples and one business contact."

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