Bristol awarded share of £40 million investment for UK synthetic biology30 January 2015The University of Bristol has been awarded a share of £2.2 million as part of a new £40 million investment for UK synthetic biology. Business Secretary Vince Cable announced the multi-million investment at the Manchester Institute for Biotechnology, where researchers are using the technology to investigate how to use bacteria in place of fossil fuels to produce the chemicals we need to manufacture a wide variety of everyday products from credit cards, to nappies, to Tupperware tubs
Cellular assembly mechanisms of essential transcription factor complex revealed23 January 2015Our cells contain a plethora of proteins that catalyse biological activity. Typically these proteins do not act alone. Rather they form large multicomponent assemblies that, in humans, often contain 10 or more subunits. For instance the machinery that reads out our genes is composed of more than 100 proteins. The cell exploits this astounding complexity to meticulously fine-tune gene expression in the cell nucleus, which contains our genome.
Vital cornerstones of this process are the general transcription factors (GTFs) which together recruit RNA polymerase II, the enzyme that transcribes genes into messenger RNA. The largest human general transcription factor is TFIID, a megadalton-sized multiprotein complex containing 22 subunits. TFIID was discovered more than two decades ago, and much effort has been expended to elucidate its structure and function. How our cells manage to assemble TFIID from its individual components, however, remained entirely enigmatic.
Congratulations to Denton Prize winner Nicole28 November 2014In the spirit of Dick Denton's long-standing commitment to research training, the Denton Prize is awarded each year to a postgraduate student in the School, and is judged after their third year postgraduate School seminars.