In 2003 these two fish swam across the pacific ocean to find Nemo:
Five years earlier, S. Yamaoka and colleagues also set out to find Nemo, the NF-kappaB essential modifier. NF-kappaB is a very famous transcription factor, which is present in all eukaryotic cells and can be activated by a large number of signaling pathways in response to external stimuli, such as viral or bacterial infections or interleukin signaling. It is active as a dimer or trimer of several subunits in different combinations, depending on the activation signal. Canonically all NF-kappaB is regulated by I-kappaB, the Inhibitor of NF-kappaB that prevents multimerization and DNA binding, unless it is modified by IKKs, I-kappaB kinases. Nemo is one of these kinases and is responsible for polyubiquitination of I-kappaB, resulting in degradation of the inhibitor and activation of transcription by NF-kappa-B.
In 1998, Yamaoka et al. were unable to find Nemo in cell-lines that are defective in their NF-kappaB response. The unresponsiveness of these cell-lines to NF-kappaB was altered by transfection of plasmids encoding for Nemo.
With ‘Finding Nemo’ only filmed in 2002 it is more likely that the researchers named their new-found modifier after Captain Nemo!!
The enigmatic explorer from 20000 leagues under the sea, written in the same city where Nemo was discovered, Paris.
The search for Nemo continues, only in 2009 S.Rahigi and colleagues actually caught a glimpse of Nemo, most of its structure is still hidden. Finding the NF-kappaB essential modifier may be way harder then finding a clownfish in the South Pacific, but maybe easier then tracking down Captain Nemo and the Nautilus.
Rahighi S, Ikeda F, Kawasaki M, Akutsu M, Suzuki N, Kato R, Kensche T, Uejima T, Bloor S, Komander D, Randow F, Wakatsuki S, Dikic I. (2009) Specific recognition of linear ubiquitin chains by NEMO is important for NF-kappaB activation. Cell.;136(6):1098-109. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2009.03.007.
Yamaoka S, Courtois G, Bessia C, Whiteside ST, Weil R, Agou F, Kirk HE, Kay RJ, Israël A. (1998) Complementation cloning of NEMO, a component of the IkappaB kinase complex essential for NF-kappaB activation Cell. 93(7):1231-40.