"Guardian of the Cell": structure and key function of giant protein explained

The enormous protein BIRC6 plays an important role in preventing programmed cell death – earning BIRC6 the nickname “Guardian of the Cell”. Scientists from the lab of Tim Clausen at the IMP now showed that BIRC6’s structure holds the key for regulating cell death, but also for cell survival pathways. Their findings are published in the journal Science.

BIRC6 (shades of blue and green) and SMAC (red). Shown is the BIRC6 dimer, with one protomer in green, one in blue, as well as SMAC in red. The structure in light blue at the front is from the blue BIRC6 protomer.

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