Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists discover how substitutions are made for injured genes

03.03.2005


If there were no bench for second-string players on a football team, who would substitute for tired or injured team members? A team of Weizmann Institute scientists has found that, if the team were made up of genes, they might pull athletes who can play a little football in a pinch from nearby basketball or rugby teams. Their findings were published in the March issue of Nature Genetics.

Dr. Yitzhak (Tzachi) Pilpel and graduate students Ran Kafri and Arren Bar-Even, of the Institute’s Molecular Genetics Department, knew from previous studies that up to 80% of the genes in yeast, a common model for genetics research, have potential stand-ins in various spots around the genome. Though not identical to the original gene, they make a protein that is sufficiently similar to the one it produces to pass muster. Many scientists believed that both genetic substitutes and the main gene were expressed simultaneously so as to supply the organism with needed quantities of proteins. But Pilpel and his team showed that, in fact, when the original gene is up and running, the others are off playing at their own sports. Only when that gene is damaged or deleted, do the substitutes get called onto the "football field," where they play as they can.

They reached this conclusion after analyzing data from some 40 studies of yeast cells by different research teams around the world. Using bioinformatics techniques (advanced data processing of biological information) to identify patterns and trends in the enormous flux of data supplied by these studies and by the sequencing of the yeast genome, they proposed a "football coach" mechanism that knows when to call up the substitute players.



This "coach" is a feedback mechanism based on the raw materials genes use to make proteins. When a gene is working at full capacity, it will use up most of the raw material available to it, leaving little in its original state. But, if it’s not making sufficient quantities of protein, or producing defective proteins that are missing bits, a relatively larger amount of the raw material will be left over. Raw material that is sitting around activates a special set of proteins called transcription factors, whose job is to turn on genes. The transcription factors then bind to, and activate the substitute genes.

Why have genes to make proteins similar enough to substitute for each other, but dissimilar enough to do it imperfectly? Pilpel’s group proposed that the small variations between exchangeable genes, such as differences in the conditions that cause them to be activated, impart to each a unique function. These differences in function make them sufficiently vital to be preserved by evolution, yet allow them, when necessary, to step in for a gene on a different team as a substitute player.

Alex Smith | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.weizmann.ac.il/
http://www.jgordonassociates.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute

nachricht Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

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

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>