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!
Not of Divided Mind
19.01.2017 | Hertie-Institut für klinische Hirnforschung (HIH)
CRISPR meets single-cell sequencing in new screening method
19.01.2017 | CeMM Forschungszentrum für Molekulare Medizin der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
19.01.2017 | Life Sciences
19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy