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 Molecular evolution: How the building blocks of life may form in space
26.04.2018 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht Multifunctional bacterial microswimmer able to deliver cargo and destroy itself
26.04.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Intelligente Systeme

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Why we need erasable MRI scans

New technology could allow an MRI contrast agent to 'blink off,' helping doctors diagnose disease

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

World's smallest optical implantable biodevice

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Molecular evolution: How the building blocks of life may form in space

26.04.2018 | Life Sciences

First Li-Fi-product with technology from Fraunhofer HHI launched in Japan

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>