Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Joining forces to unveil cell division

02.04.2010
A European team led by scientists in Vienna presents a database for cell cycle control

The EU-funded project MitoCheck, which started in 2004, has now been successfully rounded off. Eleven European research teams and companies, coordinated by the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna, studied the genetic basis of cell division. The findings are published today in the scientific journals Science and Nature.

How does one cell become two, two cells become four, and finally develop into an entire organism? This question has puzzled biologists for the past 150 years, ever since they knew that living beings are made up of cells produced by repeated divisions, all originating from one fertilized egg. How exactly this process is controlled has remained a mystery. Researchers led by Jan-Michael Peters at the IMP have now come much closer to solving the puzzle.

Although it has long been possible to watch dividing cells under a microscope, scientists did not know exactly which genes are involved in the process and how. They knew even less about the role of the proteins encoded by these genes. To fill the gaps, eleven European research teams and companies joined forces to reveal the molecular basis of human cell division. The project "MitoCheck" was coordinated by the IMP and received 8.6 Million Euros of funding from the European Commission. The results of the combined effort have now been published.

In order to find out which genes are involved in cell division, the group of Jan Ellenberg at EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg) had to systematically inactivate each and every human gene - in total 22 000 - in cultured cells. Using video microscopy, the scientists then made movies of the cells to find out whether and how these gene inactivations affected cell division. As a next step, the group of Jan-Michael Peters then analyzed how the proteins encoded by these genes assembled to form molecular machines that control the different steps of cell division.

The result of this international teamwork is the first catalogue of all human genes required for cell division. The researchers have also come up with the blueprint for many of the molecular machines which carry out the instructions laid down in the genes. All data are now made available for public use by means of a database of the human genome (http://www.mitocheck.org). At the same time, the MitoCheck-team has published the most relevant results in the two journals Science and Nature. 1) 2)

"Our database is going to be an important source of information for many areas of biomedical research. It is also a good example of how the complex and ambitious issues in science can only be addressed in a joint international effort", says project coordinator Jan-Michael Peters. MitoCheck represents not only a milestone for understanding cell division, but will prove very useful for other disciplines in the life sciences. The work of MitoCheck has spurred the development of many new techniques, such as automated video microscopy.

In the long run, scientists want to fully understand how cell division works and to use this knowledge for the development of causal therapies for cancer. This ambitious goal will require a lot more basic research in the near future. A first step has already been made: the European Union is going to fund a follow-up project over the next five years. "MitoSys", as it is called, will also be coordinated by the IMP and will start later this year.

1) The paper "Systematic Characterization of Human Protein Complexes Identifies Chromosome Segregation Proteins" by the IMP team (Hutchins et al.) will be published online in Science on April 1st, 2010.

2) The paper "Phenotypic profiling of the human genome by time-lapse microscopy reveals cell division genes" by the EMBL team (Neumann et al.) will be published in Nature on April 1st, 2010.

Contact:
Mag. Evelyn Missbach, MAS
IMP-IMBA Communications
Tel: +43 1 79730 3626
evelyn.missbach@imba.oeaw.ac.at
Dr. Yan Sun
Project-Coordinator
Tel: +43 1 79730 3254
Yan.sun@imp.ac.at
Scientific Contact:
Dr. Jan-Michael Peters
Jan-Michael.Peters@imp.ac.at

Evelyn Missbach | idw
Further information:
http://www.mitocheck.org
http://www.imp.ac.at/pressefoto-mitocheck

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ambush in a petri dish
24.11.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

nachricht Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon
23.11.2017 | Norwegian University of Science and Technology

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>