Protein of the week

Introducing: Protein of the week

by Juliane

Everybody knows scientists are very serious people, who spend all of their time in the lab working out which proteins are expressed in cells and what those proteins do. Whenever they find a new protein they give it a name and a number, like A1XT53, that nobody can remember.

But not all of us are very serious, some are just serious, and those scientists give their favorite proteins more interesting names, for example


This is a raptor:

So is this:

The regulatory associated protein of mTOR is part of the mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) complex as a scaffold that recruits other mTOR interaction partners. mTOR got its name from its yeast homolog TOR (target of rapamycin) which was identified by mutation studies in the 1990s. Since then the TOR and mTOR complexes have been found to be involved in the regulation of cell growth and autophagy. It regulates the important translation initiation factor eIF4E through phosphorylation of its inhibitor eIF4E-BP, thereby enhancing general translation efficiency in the cell. However, without raptor recruiting eIF4E-BP to the mTOR complex, this phosphorylation could never happen.

The creative, dinosaur-loving scientists behind this name are:  Kenta Hara, Yoshiko Maruki, Xiaomeng Long,  Ken-ichi Yoshino, Noriko Oshiri, Sujuti Hidayat, Chiharu Tokunaga, Joseph Avruch and  Kazuyoshi Yonezawa from the Biosignal research center in Kobe, Japan.



Hara et al. 2002 Raptor, a Binding Partner of Target of Rapamycin (TOR), Mediates TOR Action, Cell Volume 110, Issue 2, Pages 177–189


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