Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Protein anchors help keep embryonic development 'just right'

13.06.2014

The "Goldilocks effect" in fruit fly embryos may be more intricate than previously thought.

It's been known that specific proteins, called histones, must exist within a certain range—if there are too few, a fruit fly's DNA is damaged; if there are too many, the cell dies.


Histones (shown in green) in fruit fly embryos. They are stored on lipid droplets (small dots/rings) and -- when needed -- travel to nuclei (large spheres) to package DNA into chromosomes.

Credit: Photo by Zhihuan Li/University of Rochester.

Now research out of the University of Rochester shows that different types of histone proteins also need to exist in specific proportions. The work further shows that cellular storage facilities keep over-produced histones in reserve until they are needed.

Associate Professor of Biology Michael Welte has discovered that the histone balance is regulated by those storage facilities, called lipid droplets—which are best known as fat depots.

The findings were published today in the journal Current Biology.

Welte had previously discovered that another protein—called Jabba—anchored histones onto lipid droplets. In his latest research, he found that excess histones migrate outside the nucleus to the droplets, where they are temporarily held until needed to create new chromosomes.

"People have observed histone proteins on lipid droplets in multiple organisms, including mammals," said Welte. "The results of this research project may very well help us understand the role of histones and lipid droplets in humans."

Welte found that by deleting the Jabba anchors from the cell, one particular type of histone increased in proportion in the nucleus, since they had no way to be held in reserve away from the cell nuclei. That made the embryo more sensitive to environmental stresses like higher temperature, leading to defects during cell division and reduced viability.

Just as it is in humans, the embryonic stage is a crucial time for the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster). Starting from a single cell, it has to rapidly multiply in cell number and develop into a larva while coping with stresses from the environment. The embryo does all of that by activating a myriad of genetic on-off switches, a process that involves unwrapping and rewrapping various regions of DNA.

Histones are important to the process because they act as spools that DNA molecules wrap around to form chromosomes, making it possible for the DNA to do its work in the first place. Welte discovered that if the different histones are not in the correct proportion, the embryo has trouble developing correctly and may even die.

Achieving the correct proportion of histones is not something that happens automatically in the fruit fly embryo, as Welte found in his research. Instead, when a certain histone type is made in excess, it is redirected to the lipid-droplet holding sites outside the nucleus where it is kept until needed.

Welte and his team will try next to identify which parts of the Jabba protein actually bind with the histone. Once that's determined, scientists may have the ability to manipulate the histone storage process.

"Since histones and lipid droplets are found in humans, I very much expect that there will be a similar storage process," said Welte. "If that is the case, our findings could one day help treat or prevent diseases linked to chromosome malfunction. What I find most fascinating is that our research uncovered this intimate link between cellular fat depots and the nucleus, a connection that just a few years ago nobody would have dreamt of. "

###

The research team included Zhihuan Li, Matthew Johnson, Zhonghe Ke and Lili Chen. The research was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Peter Iglinski | Eurek Alert!

Further reports about: Biology DNA Drosophila Protein chromosomes discovered droplets fly histones humans proteins stresses

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells
22.08.2017 | National University Health System

nachricht Biochemical 'fingerprints' reveal diabetes progression
22.08.2017 | Umea University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Meter-sized single-crystal graphene growth becomes possible

22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>