Until the research reported in two papers published in today’s prestigious scientific journal - Nature, it had been presumed that in the chemical process of methylation(when a gene is turned on or turned off) a gene was stable and unchangeable.
However, arising from the findings of this research group at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg in Germany which included Dr. George Reid, EMBL Professor in Heidelberg, it has been shown that this is not the case and that the methylation process is transient, cyclical and dynamic. This insight came from an approach of synchronising all cells in a population such that variations were made visible.
With the sequencing of the human genome the general public has become very aware that the answer to many diseases lies in our DNA. Crucially, only some of the total possibility of genes are expressed in any given tissue. For example, a protein that is active in a nerve cell is not expressed in the liver. The way in which this is controlled is a complex area that has attracted much research. One fundamental controlling factor is whether the DNA is tagged or modified in the region of a particular gene. This modification (methylation) is important not only in gene expression but also in ensuring that there is the right balance in the level of expression of proteins in different cells. For instance women with two chromosomes have one of these silenced by the same methylation tag such that they have one active X. chromosome as have men. The consequences of an excess level of expression is well know, for instance in Downs Syndrome where an extra chromosome is active.
One paper shows that this is a general phenomenon occurring at many different genes and in many different cell types. The second paper arises predominantly from the work of Raphael Metivier, a former Post Doctoral student of Professor Gannon, carried out in Rennes in France, which shows a mechanism for this newly described phenomenon.
Commenting on the papers, Professor Gannon, said, “ It is a great satisfaction to obtain results which were of the highest standards such that they were accepted in the most discerning journals. More significantly however, the new insights paves the way for research on methods to interfere with the methylation process. As this is central to the expression of genes which are important in cancer and development, it should prove to be a very fruitful area of research”.
Alva O'Cleirigh | alfa
Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care
Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie
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...
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...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses