Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Proteins strangle cell during division

26.11.2008
New type of cell division discovered

A Swedish research group, partly financed by NWO, has discovered a new mechanism for cell division in a microorganism found in extremely hot and acidic conditions.

The results of the research offer insights into evolution, but also into the functioning of the human body. The research has been recently published in PNAS, the magazine of the American National Academy of Sciences. Thijs Ettema, member of the research group, received a Rubicon grant from NWO in 2006 to gain experience abroad.

The new mechanism for cell division was discovered in Sulfolobus acidocaldarius, a microorganism found in hot springs in Yellowstone National Park. The organism is a member of the third main group of life on earth, the Archaea. Archaea, like bacteria, are unicellular organisms but in terms of evolution they are more closely related to another main group of living things, the eukaryotes (humans, animals, plants, fungi, etc).

Strangler proteins
Until now little was known about the proteins that control cell division in the Archaea. With the use of immunofluorescence the researchers determined the location of these proteins in the cell and in doing so discovered that three proteins play a crucial role in the cell division of Sulfolobus acidocaldarius. Once the whole chromosome has been replicated, these three proteins form a band-like structure over the cell equator. One chromosome is then found on each side of this band. The band then squeezes the cell into two so that two new daughter cells are formed. At first it looks like mitosis, as discussed in many a biology lesson. However, mitosis is the process whereby the chromosomes are distributed between the two daughter cells. Cell division is the process whereby the two daughter cells are separated.

It is striking that these cell division proteins are not related to other proteins known to be involved in cell division. Some of the proteins in the new type of cell division are similar to proteins in other eukaryotes that have a completely different function. The study shows that the proteins involved in cell division in Sulfolobus acidocaldarius are related to the so-called ESCRT proteins. In eukaryotes, and therefore also in humans, these proteins are involved in protein transport within the cell. It has recently been shown that the HIV virus makes use of the ESCRT transport system to escape from the host cell. Studying the process of cell division in Sulfolobus acidocaldarius could therefore lead to new insights into the processes involving ESCRT proteins, such as HIV particle release.

Evolution
Some theories suggest that in evolutionary terms the Archaea are the predecessors of eukaryotes. This is confirmed by the fact that genes involved in cell division in Sulfolobus acidocaldarius are related to eukaryotic genes. In one way or another, these organisms are related to us humans. The study shows that this resemblance is possibly somewhat closer than at first thought.

Among other things, microbiologist Thijs Ettema has taken a closer look at the resemblance between the cell division proteins and the ESCRT proteins. Ettema carried out his research in Sweden at the University of Uppsala. Ettema obtained his doctorate from Wageningen University and Research Centre in 2005. He was awarded a Rubicon grant from NWO in 2006. Rubicon offers post-docs who have recently gained their doctorate the possibility of gaining experience at a centre of excellence abroad.

Publication details:
Ann-Christin Lindås, Erik A. Karlsson, Maria T. Lindgren, Thijs J. G. Ettema, and Rolf Bernander

A unique cell division machinery in the Archaea, PNAS, November 5, 2008

Kim van den Wijngaard | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nwo.nl/nwohome.nsf/pages/NWOA_7L9J4K_Eng

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute

nachricht Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>