Moonlighting proteins. “The idea of one gene—one protein—one function has become too simple because increasing numbers of proteins are found to have two or more different functions.” [Constance J. Jeffery, 1999, Trends in Biochemical Sciences]
Mitochondria. “Mitochondria are undergoing a renaissance. The cellular power plant is now recognized as a key cellular signaling platform… A complex network is emerging involving metabolic intermediates, the roles of the mitochondrial unfolded protein response, and the interaction of mitochondria with other organelles and with the cellular autophagic system.” [Nuno Raimundo, Trends in Molecular Medicine, 2014]
Embryonic Development and Innate Immunity. “In Drosophila, the ground-breaking work of Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard had shown by unbiased mutagenesis experiments that the Dorsal [NF-kB] gene was involved in dorso-ventral patterning in the early embryo… Cleaved Spätzle then activates the type I transmembrane receptor Toll and triggers an intracellular series of events which result in the phosphorylation of the inhibitor protein Cactus [IkB], inducing its dissociation from Dorsal… Strikingly, the intracellular signalling cascades that lead to the activation of NF-κB during immune responses show marked similarities throughout evolution.”[Nobel Lecture, December 7, 2011 by Jules Hoffman]
IkB is a new moonlighting protein. Stefan Grimm and collaborators, last month: “IκΒα inhibits apoptosis at the outer mitochondrial membrane independently of NF‐κB retention” [Evangelos Pazarentzos et al., The EMBO Journal, 2014]. A summary of their findings in cartoon form is reproduced below.
“Respiratory chain complex II as general sensor for apoptosis.”
Stefan Grimm. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta. 2013
“The ER-mitochondria interface: the social network of cell death.”
Stefan Grimm. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta. 2012
So far, I have only read through these examples from Stefan, a prolific scientist studying mitochondria. I read his papers following the news that just reached me.
“Imperial College London is to examine its staff policies after the death of an academic who was believed to have been placed under a performance review.” [Chris Parr reports in the Times Higher Education]
You will be missed Stefan. Briefing on the state of affairs in the UK academy starts counting its dead.