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 Bare bones: Making bones transparent
27.04.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>