Writing in Nature Genetics, University of Manchester researchers have shown how the nutrients in the environment are critical to the fitness of cells that carry genetic mutations caused by diseases.
The findings for the first time provide a scientific insight into why some people might respond better to certain medications than others and form the foundations for more individualised drug therapy in the future.
The team used baker’s yeast – a model organism studied by biologists to reveal molecular processes in higher organisms – to explore the relationship between environment and genetic background.
The large-scale study involved removing one of the two copies of all yeast genes – similar to removing one parent’s set of genes in a human – and analysing the resulting fitness under different dietary restrictions.
“If the gene targeted is quantitatively important, you would normally expect the yeast to show a reduction in fitness,” said Dr Daniela Delneri, who carried out the research in the University’s Faculty of Life Sciences.
“But what we found was that in certain environmental conditions, removing one copy of certain genes actually produced the opposite effect and surprisingly the yeast cells grew more quickly and were healthier.”
The team further established that this effect was mainly occurring in genes involved in the proteasome – the quality-control system within the cell that degrades unwanted proteins.
“The proteasome is important as it maintains the equilibrium of the cell,” said Dr Delneri. “When this equilibrium is lost it can result in a number of diseases, including cancer, diabetes, Huntingdon’s, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
“For example, in rapidly-growing cancerous cells the high proteasome activity renders the tumour cells immortal, so drugs that block or inhibit the proteasome’s actions are currently used as therapeutic compounds.
“Our study shows that reduced proteasome activity could be either advantageous or damaging to the cell depending on the nutrients available to it in the surrounding environment.”
The findings suggest that, ideally, when therapeutic drugs are administered to alter the proteasome activity, the environment – governed by the type of tissue or a person’s diet and lifestyle – should be taken into consideration to assure the correct beneficial effect.
Aeron Haworth | alfa
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine
22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.08.2017 | Life Sciences