Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Discovery of an unexpected function of a protein linked to neurodegenerative diseases

28.04.2015

A study done on fruit flies and published in Nature Communications reveals that the protein dDsk2, in addition to degrading proteins, also plays a key role in regulating gene expression.

Until today, the proteins known as ubiquitin receptors have been associated mainly with protein degradation, a basic cell cleaning process. A new function now described for the protein dDsk2 by the team headed by Ferran Azorín, group leader at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and CSIC research professor, links ubiquitin receptors for the first time with the regulation of gene expression.


This is a microscope image of polytene chromosomes from Drosophila melanogaster, in which, using staining techniques, scientists have visualized the protein dDsk2, a molecule never previously associated with chromatin

(image: R. Kessler, IRB Barcelona)

This discovery, published today in Nature Communications, opens up a double scenario, one focused on basic epigenomic research and the other biomedical, because of the link between dDsk2 and neurodegenerative diseases.

Double role of ubiquitin

In humans, there are about 100 proteins associated with ubiquitination, the process by which a protein labelled with ubiquitin is removed from the cell by specific cell machinery known as the proteosome. Ubiquitin receptors are involved in the detection of ubiquitination.

Ferran Azorín, head of the "Chromatin structure and function" group says, "although previous data pointed to the possibility of ubiquitin receptors also contribute to cell processes, data were scarce and a direct role in gene regulation had not been demonstrated."

"Ubiquitination related to transcription proteins and to DNA repair had previously been described. But this is the first time that a protein, dDsk2, that recognises the ubiquitination of a histone, a protein that forms part of chromatin, has been identified." Chromatin is a complex formed by DNA and histones --proteins tightly bound to DNA-- packaging it into chromosomes and determining gene expression, a process known as epigenetics.

Recent years have brought about the discovery of the fundamental contribution of epigenetics to the development of disease. "We have now opened a new perspective for ubiquitin receptors and we should further this research", explains Roman Kessler, a Swiss "la Caixa" PhD fellow at IRB Barcelona and first co-author of the paper. In the study, the researchers also reveal the molecular mechanism through which the protein dDsk2 binds to chromatin proteins, thus participating indirectly in the regulation of transcription.

The protein in neurodegenerative diseases

Subjects with Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative pathologies such as Huntington's, have a mutation in the protein ubiquilin, the homologue of dDsk2 in humans. "The role of these mutations in the onset and development of disease is still unknown," says Johan Tisserand, postdoctoral research and co-author of the study who is continuing with the project.

"Now that we have discovered this new function, we aim to study whether it affects degradation or transcription, although probably both processes are altered. Our goal is to work towards unravelling these effects," concludes Ferran Azorín. The new studies will be performed on Drosophila melanogaster and in cells in vitro.

###

Reference article:

The ubiquitin receptor dDsk2 regulates H2Bub1 and RNApol II pausing at dHP1c-complex target genes

Roman Kessler, Johan Tisserand, Joan Font-Burgada, Oscar Reina, Laura Coch, Camille Stephan-Otto Attolini, Ivan Garcia-Bassets and Fernando Azorín

Nature Communications (2015). DOI: 10.1038/ncomms8049

Media Contact

Sònia Armengou
armengou@irbbarcelona.org
34-934-037-255

http://www.irbbarcelona.org 

Sònia Armengou | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Fine organic particles in the atmosphere are more often solid glass beads than liquid oil droplets
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie

nachricht Study overturns seminal research about the developing nervous system
21.04.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>