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10 INSIDE SALK

SPRING 2017

WWW.SALK.EDU

DISCOVERIES

SALK SCIENTISTS

CRACK THE

STRUCTURE OF

HIV MACHINERY

Ribosomes—macromolecular machines

consisting of RNA and proteins that

twist, fold and turn—are responsible for

making all of the protein within a cell,

but because they assemble so speedily,

researchers haven’t been able to figure

out how they come together. As part of

a collaboration between Salk and The

Scripps Research Institute, co-senior

author Dmitry Lyumkis, a Helmsley-

Salk Fellow, deployed a cutting-edge

imaging method called single-particle

cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM)

and accompanying analysis tools to

decipher some of the key steps for how

ribosomes are assembled, a first step in

understanding their roles in health and

disease. The results appeared online

December 1, 2016, in the journal

Cell

.

IMMUNOLOGY

Salk Institute scientists solved the structure

of the HIV intasome, a large molecular

complex that inserts viral DNA (red)

into the genomes of its host (silver).

COLLABORATION UNCOVERS HOW

MOLECULAR MACHINES ASSEMBLE

Helmsley-Salk Fellow and senior

author Dmitry Lyumkis, first author

Dario Passos and collaborators have

solved the atomic structure of a key

piece of machinery that allows HIV

to integrate into human host DNA

and replicate in the body. The findings

about this machinery, known as the

“intasome,” appeared January 6, 2017,

in

Science

and yield structural clues

informing the development of new

HIV drugs.

A research team used a

cutting-edge imaging method

called single-particle cryo-

electron microscopy (cryo-EM)

and accompanying analysis

tools to decipher some of the

key steps for how ribosomes

are assembled.