The genome encodes the complete information needed by an organism, including that required for protein production. Viruses, which are up to a thousand times smaller than human cells, have considerably smaller genomes.
Using a type of herpesvirus as a model system, the scientists of the Max Planck Institute (MPI) of Biochemistry in Martinsried near Munich and their collaboration partners at the University of California in San Francisco have shown that the genome of this virus contains much more information than previously assumed.The researchers identified several hundred novel proteins, many of which were surprisingly small. The results of the study have now been published in Science.
The results of the American and German researchers provide detailed insight into the complex mechanisms used by the virus. “We showed that it’s not enough merely to know the virus genome to understand the biology of the herpesvirus,” Annette Michalski said. “What is important is to look at the products actually produced from the genome.” Even human genes may be much more complex than the genome sequence itself indicates, commented the researchers. Matthias Mann and his colleagues plan to investigate this question further in the coming years.Original publication:
Anja Konschak | Max-Planck-Institut
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