The work could help shed light on health-related problems such as how cancerous cells spread, what makes some people more prone to heart attacks, (http://www.mayoclinic.org/heart-attack/) or how genes factor in addiction.
More complicated issues, like the genetics (http://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-genetics-rst/) of behavior, plasticity and cellular memory, stress, learning and epigenetics, could also be studied with this method.
The research at Mayo Clinic's (http://www.mayoclinic.org/) Zebrafish Core Facility (http://mayoresearch.mayo.edu/mayo/research/zcf/) could help further unify biology and genomics by describing the complex interrelations of DNA, gene function and gene-protein expression and migration. The study examines protein expression and function from 350 loci among the zebrafish's approximately 25,000 protein-encoding genes. Researchers plan to identify another 2,000 loci.
"I consider this particular system a toolbox for answering fundamental scientific questions," says Dr. Ekker, a Mayo Clinic molecular biologist and lead author of the article. "This opens up the door to a segment of biology that has been impossible or impractical with existing genomics research methods."
For the First Time
The study includes several technical firsts in genetic research. Those include a highly effective and reversible insertional transposon mutagen. In nearly all loci tested, endogenous expression knockdown topped 99 percent.
The research yielded the first collection of conditional mutant alleles outside the mouse; unlike popular mouse conditional alleles that are switched from "on" to "off," zebrafish mutants conditionally go from "off" to "on," offering new insight into localized gene requirements. The transposon system results in fluorescence-tagged mutant chromosomes, opening the door to an array of new genetic screens that are difficult or impossible to conduct using more traditional mutagenesis methods, such as chemical or retroviral insertion.
The project also marks the first in vivo mutant protein trap in a vertebrate. Leveraging the natural transparency of the zebrafish larvae lets researchers document gene function and protein dynamics and trafficking for each protein-trapped locus. The research also ties gene/protein expression to function in a single system, providing a direct link among sequence, expression and function for each genetic locus.
Researchers plan to integrate information from this study into a gene codex that could serve as a reference for information stored on the vertebrate genome.
Shedding Light on Disease
Researchers exposed translucent zebrafish to transposons, "jumping genes" that move around inside the genome of a cell. The transposons instructed zebrafish cells to mark mutated proteins with a fluorescent protein 'tag.'
"This makes investigation of a whole new set of issues possible," Dr. Ekker says. "It adds an additional level of complexity to the genome project."
Dr. Ekker's team maintains about 50,000 fish in the Zebrafish Core Facility. To observe, photograph and document mutations of that many minnow-sized fish, the team works with an international team of researchers and gets helps from Rochester public elementary school teachers. Under a program with Mayo Clinic and Winona State University called InSciEd Out (Integrated Science Education Outreach), teachers document mutations and learn about the scientific method.
Other members of the research team include Karl Clark, Ph.D.; Yonghe Ding, Ph.D.; Stephanie Westcot; Victoria Bedell; Tammy Greenwood; Mark Urban; Kimberly Skuster; Andrew Petzold, Ph.D.; Jun Ni, Ph.D.; and Xiaolei Xu, Ph.D., all of Mayo Clinic; Darius Balciunas, Ph.D.; Aubrey Nielsen; and Sridhar Sivasubbu, Ph.D., all of the University of Minnesota; Hans-Martin Pogoda, Ph.D., and Matthias Hammerschmidt, Ph.D., of the University of Cologne in Germany; and Ashok Patowary and Vinod Scaria, Ph.D., of the Institute of Genomic and Integrative Biology in New Delhi.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and Mayo Clinic funded the study.
About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life. For more information, visit www.mayoclinic.org/about/ and www.mayoclinic.org/news.Contact:
Robert Nellis | EurekAlert!
What happens in the cell nucleus after fertilization
06.12.2016 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
06.12.2016 | Earth Sciences
06.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy