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 Embryonic development: How do limbs develop from cells?
18.05.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

nachricht Reading histone modifications, an oncoprotein is modified in return
18.05.2018 | American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | 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

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>