2nd Structural Biology Club

2nd Structural Biology Club of the Czech Society for Structural Biology
online on
28 April 2021, 1 pm
with the following scientific talks kindly delivered by our guests:

Simultaneous gene transcription and translation

Presented by Gabriel Demo, Central European Institute of Technology, Brno

In Bacteria and Archaea, newly transcribed RNAs are immediately bound by ribosomes, thus coupling transcription to translation. Indeed, recent cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) studies report that RNA polymerase and ribosome may interact directly. Our presented cryo-EM work suggests at least two mechanisms for transcription-translation coupling. First, cellular co-localization of RNAP and 30S subunit by direct binding could increase the probability of co-transcriptional translation initiation. Second, the 30S-RNAP complex may facilitate loading of mRNA onto the 30S subunit, thus coupling the transcription elongation with translation initiation.

The formamide clue for the transition between non-living and living matter

Presented by Judit E. Sponer, Institute of Biophysics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Brno

More than six decades after the historical Miller-Urey experiment the formamide-based scenario is perhaps the most powerful concurrent hypothesis for the origin of life on Earth besides the traditional HCN-based concept. Nowadays the formamide-based origin model represents the only known continuous pathway leading from simple prebiotic precursors up to the first catalytically active RNA molecules. In my talk I will overview the major events of this long pathway from a theoretical perspective, mainly concentrating on the structural and energetic aspects of the processes allowing for the emergence of more and more complex molecular systems from simple prebiotic precursors. I will illustrate how the energy-driven chemistry characterizing the earliest stages of abiogenesis could translate into a structure-driven chemistry with increasing molecular complexity. Whereas prebiotic synthesis of the building blocks of the first genetic molecules involves a less selective high-energy chemistry, at higher levels of molecular evolution other aspects, like structural compatibility, become decisive.

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