Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Regulating human X chromosomes doesn’t use same gene as in mouse

01.08.2002


A gene thought to keep a single X chromosome turned on in mice plays no such role in humans, Johns Hopkins researchers report in the August issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics.



The finding is likely to relegate the disproven gene to relative obscurity, at least in humans, says Barbara Migeon, M.D., of the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine, whose laboratory found the human version of the gene in 2001. It also moves the search for the gene from the X chromosome to the 22 other types of chromosomes found in human cells, she adds.

In mammals, one of the two X chromosomes inherited by all females is turned off during development to prevent a dangerous double dose of proteins. A gene called Xist unquestionably turns off X chromosomes in mice, humans and other mammals. Because every cell needs one active X chromosome, Xist must be suppressed on one X in both females and males (which have an X and a Y chromosome). Which gene (or genes) does this is still in question, says Migeon.


In mice, researchers elsewhere pointed to the Tsix gene, because it suppressed Xist and was itself expressed only on the active X. However, studying cells from various human developmental stages, Migeon and her team discovered that human Tsix is expressed only on the inactive X chromosome, right alongside Xist. The two continue to be expressed together until after birth, when for reasons unknown Tsix gradually disappears.

"The difference is striking," says Migeon, also a professor of pediatrics. "In mice, researchers have suggested that Tsix was the gene in mammals that suppresses Xist and allows an X chromosome to remain active, but we’ve shown clearly that it does not do this in humans."

Migeon suggests instead that the mouse Tsix is involved in imprinting, a way cells determine which of two gene copies to use to make proteins that depends only on which parent the copy came from. In mice, X-inactivation in the placenta is imprinted -- the X from the mother is always "on." In other embryonic tissues, however, inactivation occurs randomly -- the X from either the mother or father could be on. In humans, X-inactivation is random for all tissues, including the placenta.

"Human and mouse Tsix are very different from one another," says Migeon. "Sequence differences and missing regions in human Tsix are a window on what’s happening in the mouse and help explain why the gene doesn’t have the same function in humans."

Much remains unknown about human Tsix, including what, if anything, it does in humans. However, Migeon will leave those mysteries for others to investigate, choosing instead to continue a 30-year quest to fully understand X-inactivation in human development.

"We expect to find a gene on one of the other chromosomes that turns off Xist in a random fashion," says Migeon. "It is difficult to envision how a gene on the X chromosome could, by itself, regulate the function of Xist on only one member of the X chromosome pair."

To track down Xist’s true suppressor, Migeon and her colleagues are studying human cells with "trisomies" -- cells that have 23 pairs of chromosomes plus a third copy of one chromosome. In these cells, if the Xist-suppressing gene is on the chromosome with three copies, X-inactivation would be abnormal, Migeon says.


The studies were funded by the National Institutes of Health. Authors on the study are Migeon, Catherine Lee, Ashis Chowdhury and Heather Carpenter, all of Johns Hopkins.

Joanna Downer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/AJHG/journal/issues/v71n2/024004/024004.web.pdf
http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>