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Issue 144 Summer 2022

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| Hot topics

Post-translational modification is a fundamental mechanism used to regulate the biological activity of proteins. As such, the addition or removal of phosphate groups from amino acids is one of the most studied and well understood of all post-translational modifications.

Ohira et al. reveal an additional layer of control in the process of ribosomal translation, with identification of reversible phosphorylation of the fundamental transfer RNA (tRNA) molecule. This work shows that phosphorylation of tRNA modulates its capacity to perform the critical process of translation. They also show this is not a process that changes the translated sequence, only the rate at which it is produced.

This has important ramifications for our understanding of how cells respond to the assortment of stressors that exist, including oxygen concentration, nutrients and redox status.

Read the full article in Nature 605 372–379

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