Department of Genetics

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Paper Published in Developmental Cell

A paper from Nick Baker’s lab has been published in Developmental Cell that addresses the role of ribosomes in the cell. Working with the simple fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster, Lee, Kiparaki et al ( show that defects in the protein components of ribosomes activate a previously-unrecognized cellular signaling process. Ribosomes are well-known as the factories that produce protein, thus enabling growth and other normal cellular functions. Several human diseases are caused by defects in the components of ribosomes, or in the process of assembling ribosomes. Diamond-Blackfan Anemia is caused by mutations in the human proteins studies by the Baker lab using Drosophila. While it might seem plausible that the disease is directly due to diminished ribosome function, if a specific signaling process is involved, as suggested by the Lee, Kiparaki et al paper. This also shows the utility of studying fundamental cellular processes in simple organisms that can be manipulated experimentally.

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