Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

MBL Scientists Find Evidence of RNA in Organelle Essential to Cell Division

08.06.2006
Surf clam egg study may change thinking about centrosomes

Despite more than a century of study, scientists know relatively little about the inner workings of centrosomes--organelles essential to cell division in humans and animals. Now new research by scientists studying surf clams at the MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) shows that centrosomes may contain ribonucleic acid (RNA), the molecule that translates genes into proteins.


Clam centrosomes (center in green) encased in RNA (blue) provide strong evidence that the RNA is closely associated with these organelles. Image by Mary Anne Alliegro.

The research, published June 5 in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that centrosomes may carry at least some of their own genetic machinery and offers new opportunities to answer long-held questions about centrosome function, heredity, and evolution. The article will also be published in the journal’s June 13 print edition.

Centrosomes play a key role in cell division. When the process begins, a single centrosome copies itself and the two organelles migrate to the cell’s edges, where they help tease apart the chromosomes, and assure genetic stability from cell to cell. In fact, centrosome instabilities have been linked to tumor malignancies, so answering basic questions about how these organelles work may ultimately aid cancer research.

The clam centrosome study, led by MBL summer investigator Mark Alliegro of Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC), in collaboration with Mary Anne Alliegro of LSUHSC and Robert Palazzo, of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, detected five RNA sequences in clam eggs that appear to be unique to the centrosome. “The implications are broad and I expect there will be lively discussion on their meaning for topics from cell division to eukaryotic evolution. At this point we know very little about their function or origins, but we are confident they represent a special set of transcripts,” says Dr. Mark Alliegro.

The findings are likely to spark debate among biologists who have contemplated how these organelles self replicate. Although the consensus is that centrosomes lack DNA, the question of whether they contain RNA has never been adequately answered. “The RNA question has always been controversial, but we couldn’t close the door on it,” says Dr. Palazzo. “This is the first really good evidence that nucleic acid co-purifies with the centrosome, which means it is physically present.”

The centrosome study was initiated at the MBL, an international biological research center, where many scientists use locally abundant marine organisms like surf clams ( Spisula solidissima ) and their eggs as research models. Clam eggs are simple versions of human cells, and biologists who study cell division value them for several reasons. They develop fast, entering meiosis within less than a quarter hour after fertilization, and, once fertilized, divide synchronously every 30-50 minutes - providing billions of biochemically identical cells to study.

Using a technique Dr. Palazzo developed at the MBL, the scientists were able to isolate relatively large quantities of clam centrosomes. Skills developed in Dr. Alliegro’s laboratory were then used to extract a unique set of RNAs and demonstrate their association with centrosomes biochemically and in situ .

“The next step will be to determine what role these RNAs might play in centrosome replication, the cell cycle, or the development of organisms,” Dr. Alliegro says. Meanwhile, the scientists hope their paper serves to alert researchers working in other model systems that centrosomal RNA might exist and that it could be playing an important role in life processes.

Andrea Early | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mbl.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Making fuel out of thick air
08.12.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht ‘Spying’ on the hidden geometry of complex networks through machine intelligence
08.12.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden

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 channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

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

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Midwife and signpost for photons

11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

How do megacities impact coastal seas? Searching for evidence in Chinese marginal seas

11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

PhoxTroT: Optical Interconnect Technologies Revolutionized Data Centers and HPC Systems

11.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>