Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Biology in four dimensions

04.02.2005


The factor of time gives scientists insight into cellular machines



Most things that happen in the cell are the work of ’molecular machines’ – complexes of proteins that carry out important cellular functions. Until now, scientists didn’t have a clear idea of when proteins form these machines – are these complexes pre-fabricated or put together on the spot for each specific job? Researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), working closely with scientists from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), have now answered that question by drawing together many types of data in a fascinating new model. The work is published in this week’s edition of Science.
"Past studies of this type have usually left out a crucial element – time," says EMBL Group Leader Peer Bork. "But now a picture has emerged which is extremely dynamic."

The researchers discovered that in yeast, key components needed to create a machine are produced ahead of time, and kept in stock. When a new machine is needed, a few crucial last pieces are synthesized and then the apparatus is assembled. Holding off on the last components enables the cell to prevent building machines at the wrong times. That’s a different scenario from what happens in bacteria, which usually start production of all the parts, from scratch, whenever they want to get something done.



"We saw a clear pattern as to how the complexes are assembled," says Søren Brunak from DTU. "It’s unusual to find such concrete patterns in biology, compared to physics for example, due to the evolutionary forces that change living systems. But using this new model, the underlying principle became very clear."

The researchers developed the model by combining data from many different studies. First, they analyzed existing protein-protein interaction data to construct a network that traces the pieces of each complex and shows how they interact. Then, to add the dimension of time, they identified genes involved in the cell cycle to find out when certain genes are switched on to produce the proteins that assemble into cellular machines. By overlaying various data sets, the researchers were able to construct a new model for protein-complex interactions.

"In addition to gaining new information about known cellular machines," Bork notes, "we were able to plug in some components whose functions had been unknown. And the same approach could be used to study the dynamic behaviour of other biological systems, including those of humans and animals."

Trista Dawson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.embl.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Closing the carbon loop
08.12.2016 | University of Pittsburgh

nachricht Newly discovered bacteria-binding protein in the intestine
08.12.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Closing the carbon loop

08.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>