Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

40-year search is over: UT Southwestern researchers identify key photoreceptor in fungi

05.07.2002


After 40 years of searching for the photoreceptor that controls multiple vital processes in fungi, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have discovered the protein that triggers this phenomenon.



Light regulates several physiological processes in fungi, including their ability to produce spores and the synchronization of their internal biological clocks, but their photoreceptors – receptors that are sensitive to light and are essential for most ongoing processes – were not known until this breakthrough discovery made by UT Southwestern researchers.

In this week’s on-line version of Science, the researchers report that the protein White Collar –1, or WC-1, is the photoreceptor for light responses in fungi, which encompass yeast and mold. Fungi share with bacteria the important ability to break down complex organic substances of almost every type and are essential to the recycling of carbon and other elements in the cycle of life. Fungi are also important as foods and to the fermentation process in the development of substances for industrial and medical importance, including alcohol, antibiotics, other drugs and antitoxins.


UT Southwestern researchers also specifically identified WC-1’s role in the internal biological clock of fungi, which is called the circadian clock and is controlled by light. This internal time-keeping system is a fundamental property in almost all organisms, allowing them to adapt to the natural environment.

"This discovery is important because it provides a better understanding of how life works and how life adjusts to the environment," said Dr. Yi Liu, senior author of the study and an assistant professor of physiology at UT Southwestern.

WC-1 previously had been identified as a protein involved in the transfer of genetic code information, a process called transcription, but researchers had not discovered its role as a photoreceptor until now.

"We hypothesized if the photo sensory domain of WC-1 was removed, all light- regulated processes, including the circadian clock, would be blind," said Liu.

The researchers tested this hypothesis by creating an organism that lacked WC-1 putative photo sensory domain. Liu and his collaborators demonstrated that WC-1, like all known photoreceptors, is associated with a photo pigment, the molecule that is sensitive to light.

"As we predicted, this mutant organism was literally blind to light. The circadian clock was no longer synchronized by light and the light-regulated genes were not turned on after light treatment, which affected many physiological processes," Liu said.

"All light responses were interrupted in this mutant, including the growth of mold and the production of spores," said Liu, who also was co-author of a second study published on this week’s Science Web site about the role of WC-1 in mediating light input to the circadian clock.


Other researchers involved in the UT Southwestern study included Drs. Ping Cheng and Qiyang He, both first authors of the study and postdoctoral researchers in physiology; Dr. Kevin Gardner, assistant professor of biochemistry; Lixing Wang, a research technician in physiology; and Dr. Yuhong Yang, a postdoctoral researcher in physiology.

The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

To automatically receive news releases from UT Southwestern via e-mail, send a message to UTSWNEWS-REQUEST@listserv.swmed.edu. Leave the subject line blank and in the text box, type SUB UTSWNEWS.


Amy Shields | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.swmed.edu/

More articles from Life Sciences:

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

nachricht Migrating Cells: Folds in the cell membrane supply material for necessary blebs
23.11.2017 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

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....

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

Underwater acoustic localization of marine mammals and vehicles

23.11.2017 | Information Technology

Enhancing the quantum sensing capabilities of diamond

23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon

23.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>