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 Molecular microscopy illuminates molecular motor motion
26.07.2017 | Penn State

nachricht New virus discovered in migratory bird in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
26.07.2017 | Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

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

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

CCNY physicists master unexplored electron property

26.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Molecular microscopy illuminates molecular motor motion

26.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Large-Mouthed Fish Was Top Predator After Mass Extinction

26.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>