Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

DNA Movement Linked to Formation of Antibody Genes

07.01.2005


Peter W. Atkinson, a University of California, Riverside professor of entomology and member of the university’s Institute for Integrative Genome Biology, is part of a team that has linked the movement of small pieces of DNA, known as transposable elements, to a process called V(D)J recombination that produces the genetic diversity responsible for the production of antibodies. This will help scientists understand the mixing and matching of DNA in organisms and the role this mixing plays in healthy and diseased cells.



Nancy L. Craig from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics at Johns Hopkins Medical Institute led the team, which published its findings in this week’s issue of the journal Nature, in a paper titled Transposition of hAT elements links transposable elements and V(D)J recombination. Also on the team were Liqin Zhou and Rupak Mitra from Johns Hopkins, and Alison Burgess Hickman and Fred Dyda from the Laboratory of Molecular Biology at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, Md.

“These functional and comparative studies link the movement of transposable elements and V(D)J recombination. This outcome has implications for understanding transposable element movement in all organisms as well as the role that transpositional type recombination mechanisms have in chromosomal rearrangements of both healthy and diseased cells,” Atkinson said. “Of growing interest is the role that some of these rearrangements may play in the genesis of some cancers.”


Transposable elements, or small pieces of DNA that can move around within and sometimes between genomes, move through a process called transposition. Transposable elements are classified by their mechanisms of transposition. V(D)J recombination is the process by which antigen receptor genes, which encode antibodies, are created in specialized blood cells called B lymphocytes. This regulated process that involves local chromosomal rearrangements such as deletions and inversions is responsible for generating the diversity of antibodies produced by these cells.

For many years these two processes– transposable element transposition and V(D)J recombination – were thought to have some similarities and therefore may have evolved from an ancestral recombination system. “No one, however, could establish this link. The work described in this paper establishes this link,” said Atkinson.

The paper describes the mechanism by which a member of one family of transposable elements actually moves. This element is called Hermes and was discovered by Atkinson and David O’Brochta of the University of Maryland about a decade ago. The element comes from the housefly and is a member of the hAT family of transposable elements that includes the Ac element of maize, which Geneticist Barbara McClintock, of the Carnegie Institution’s Cold Harbor Laboratory in New York, discovered many decades ago.

The paper shows that, like many transposable elements, Hermes cuts away from donor DNA via double strand breaks and that the ends of the element then join to the target DNA. Unlike other transposable elements, hairpin intermediates are formed at the ends of the donor DNA rather than on the ends of the element itself. This also occurs during V(D)J recombination.

In addition, comparison of the secondary structure of the Hermes transposase (the enzyme that mediates Hermes element transposition) with the RAG1 recombinase (the enzyme that mediates V(D)J recombination) and the transposases of some retroviruses shows clear similarities between these recombination enzymes.

Ricardo Duran | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucr.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New application for acoustics helps estimate marine life populations
16.01.2018 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht Unexpected environmental source of methane discovered
16.01.2018 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Morbid Obesity: Gastric Bypass and Sleeve Gastrectomy Are Comparable

17.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system

17.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Genetic discovery may help better identify children at risk for type 1 diabetes

17.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>