Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How genes hide their function

19.08.2010
Researchers at the RIKEN Plant Science Center have illuminated mechanisms underlying the genetic robustness of metabolic effects in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Their findings reveal a key balance between the roles played by duplicate genes and metabolic network connectivity in functional compensation.

Researchers at the RIKEN Plant Science Center have illuminated mechanisms underlying the genetic robustness of metabolic effects in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Their findings, reported in Molecular Biology and Evolution, reveal a key balance between the roles played by duplicate genes and metabolic network connectivity in functional compensation.

Despite many decades of research, the relationship between genes and their phenotypic effects remains poorly understood. The standard approach of knocking out individual genes to assess their role runs into the problem of genetic robustness: cells compensate for gene loss by reproducing the gene’s function via other means, concealing its actual phenotypic effect.

Narrowing this effect to metabolic products, two functional compensation mechanisms enable cells to do this: gene duplication and alternate metabolic pathways. To explore the relative contribution of each, the researchers analyzed 35 metabolic products – 17 primary metabolites and 18 secondary metabolites – from 1976 genes in mutants of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), an analytical chemistry technique, they compared what happens to production of these metabolites when genes with and without duplicates are knocked out.

Results reveal that only duplicate genes with very high similarity play a significant role in functional compensation, mainly in the production of secondary metabolites and in functions associated with multiple metabolic products. Alternative pathways, in contrast, were found to compensate for the production of primary metabolites, which are more highly-connected in metabolic networks.

Together, the results uncover a complementary relationship between compensation mechanisms in A. thaliana, indicating that duplicate genes play an important role only when the number of alternative pathways is low. By exposing the mechanisms separating genes from their phenotypic effects, the findings thus shed valuable new light on the gene-phenotype relationship, laying the groundwork for new theoretical models in systems biology.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Kousuke Hanada
Gene Discovery Research Group
RIKEN Plant Science Center
Tel: +81-(0)45-503-9570 / Fax: +81-(0)45-503-9580
Email:kohanada@psc.riken.jp
Ms. Tomoko Ikawa (PI officer)
Global Relations Office
RIKEN
Tel: +81-(0)48-462-1225 / Fax: +81-(0)48-463-3687
Email: koho@riken.jp
Reference:
Kousuke Hanada, Yuji Sawada, Takashi Kuromori, Klausnitzer Romy, Kazuki Saito, Tetsuro Toyoda, Kazuo Shinozaki, Wen-Hsiung Li and Masami Yokota Hirai. Functional compensation of primary and secondary metabolites by duplicate genes in Arabidopsis thaliana. Mol. Biol. Evol. (2010). DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msq204

About the RIKEN Plant Science Center

With rapid industrialization and a world population set to top 9 billion within the next 30 years, the need to increase our food production capacity is more urgent today than it ever has been before. Avoiding a global crisis demands rapid advances in plant science research to boost crop yields and ensure a reliable supply of food, energy and plant-based materials.

The RIKEN Plant Science Center (PSC), located at the RIKEN Yokohama Research Institute in Yokohama City, Japan, is at the forefront of research efforts to uncover mechanisms underlying plant metabolism, morphology and development, and apply these findings to improving plant production. With laboratories ranging in subject area from metabolomics, to functional genomics, to plant regulation and productivity, to plant evolution and adaptation, the PSC's broad scope grants it a unique position in the network of modern plant science research. In cooperation with universities, research institutes and industry, the PSC is working to ensure a stable supply of food, materials, and energy to support a growing world population and its pressing health and environmental needs.

Associated files available for download
View/download the file '2010_08_18_HANADA_GENE_DUPLICATION final2.doc.
Journal information
Molecular Biology and Evolution

gro-pr | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.riken.jp
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Complete skin regeneration system of fish unraveled
24.04.2018 | Tokyo Institute of Technology

nachricht Scientists generate an atlas of the human genome using stem cells
24.04.2018 | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum Technology for Advanced Imaging – QUILT

24.04.2018 | Information Technology

AWI researchers measure a record concentration of microplastic in arctic sea ice

24.04.2018 | Earth Sciences

Complete skin regeneration system of fish unraveled

24.04.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>