Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Probability Controls The Molecule Of Life

24.05.2004


Thanks to biophysicists, statistics has reached the most intimate aspect of life – regulation of genes’ activity. Investigation on probabilistic aspects of molecular biology has been supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research and the INTAS Foundation.



Regulation of genes’ activity is one of the most important biological problems which has not been solved so far. A cell switches on and off its genes through multiple factors, which, if required, interact with certain sections of a chromosome or vice versa, leave them. While molecular biologists search for the mechanisms than ensure precise and uninterrupted control of genome’s activity, biophysics keep on saying that this is a statistical process, i.e., a probabilistic one, therefore, it cannot be absolutely precise. Specialists of the Engelgardt Institute of Molecular Biology (Russian Academy of Sciences) and the Faculty of Physics, Moscow State University, jointly with the colleagues from the Gumboldt University (Germany) have received equations that allow to assess statistically the regulatory factors/DNA interaction.

According to biophysicists’ opinion, molecules inside the cell move around as freely as in a drop of experimental solution: their concentrations go up and down slightly. Even an insignificant local change in molecule concentration capable of interaction with DNA may impact such interaction. Therefore, if two cells possessing an identical set of genes obviously differ from each other, they owe that to statistical deviations. It is impossible to measure the changes in concentration in experimental systems, therefore the researchers create mathematical models. In fact, these models are sometimes far from real ones (no infinite DNAs or DNAs all set by proteins exist in nature), but they help to evaluate the contribution of fortuity in the sanctum sanctorum of a cell - in regulation of genes’ work. The contribution is significant. Sometimes, due to statistical difference of concentration at the DNA section there may turn out to be eight to twelve regulatory molecules instead of ten. Sometimes, the value of hindrances reaches 17 percent.


One more reason for hindrances lies in competition. Speaking about regulation of work of some gene, researchers normally imply specific interaction of definite molecules with specific sections of DNA. However, on top of specific interaction, there also exists non-specific interaction. Multiple molecules are capable of combining with DNA, and they do so simply because they happened to be nearby. Accidental connection is not that strong, but on the other hand, a lot of “alien” molecules can set on DNA, the alien molecules hindering genes from specific interaction with regulatory proteins. All theoretically possible cases of competition for physical contact with DNA also yield to mathematical formulation.

From biophysicists point of view, DNA with proteins adsorbed on it may be viewed as a message, where relevant information is carried not only by the number of bound proteins, but also by the degree of its deviation from an average value. The researchers are convinced that it is impossible to investigate the control of genes’ activity without involvement of statistical thermodynamics of systems with a small number of particles. Although the objects of statistical thermodynamics exist not in bioplast, but in a test-tube filled with the solution of a complicated composition, the difference is normally disregarded by the authors of mathematical models.

Sergey Komarov | alfa
Further information:
http://www.informnauka.ru

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Warming ponds could accelerate climate change
21.02.2017 | University of Exeter

nachricht An alternative to opioids? Compound from marine snail is potent pain reliever
21.02.2017 | University of Utah

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”

21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>