Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Architects of the envelope: scientists discover an essential nucleus-building protein

Every time a cell divides, the protective envelope that surrounds the nucleus is broken down and rebuilt into two new ones. Envelopes are highly complex structures of membranes and proteins which must be precisely reassembled for the nuclei to function. Scientists at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) in Barcelona, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg and the Pasteur Institute in Paris have discovered a protein that plays a crucial role in the assembly and structure of the nucleus. Their work appears in the September 5 issue of Current Biology.

The envelope acts as a barrier between the outer cell compartment, called the cytoplasm, and DNA stored in the cell nucleus. It regulates which molecules are allowed to pass back and forth between the two compartments. Most of this traffic passes through basket-shaped passageways called nuclear pores, which consist of intricately-woven proteins. “We haven't yet identified all the molecules in the nuclear envelope, and many questions remain about the process by which molecules are granted or denied passage,” says Peter Askjaer of IRB.

The new study shows that a protein called MEL-28 is a component of nuclear pores in the worm C. elegans, one of biology's most important model organisms. More importantly, it reveals that MEL-28 is one of the key architects as bits of membrane and proteins are drawn together to build new envelopes.

When scientists blocked the activity of MEL-28, they discovered that patches of membranes attached themselves to DNA but couldn't seal themselves off into a complete envelope. A step-by-step analysis showed that without the protein, other molecules are not drawn together properly as envelopes are rebuilt. The components were scrambled; pores were no longer built, and the wrong molecules were able to get access to DNA. Because MEL-28 remains attached to DNA during the entire process of cell division, the scientists believe it plays a crucial role early in the formation of the envelope.

... more about:
»DNA »Membrane »mel-28

MEL-28 has a close relative in human cells; one of the researchers’ future projects will be to examine whether this molecule plays a similar role in our own species. Oddly-shaped nuclear envelopes are seen in human genetic diseases such as progeria, a rare condition that causes affected children to age prematurely, and some types of muscular dystrophies. “Understanding how the nuclear envelope forms in the first place may eventually help us understand how changes in it can cause these diseases and potentially how they can be treated,” says Askjaer.

Sarah Sherwood | alfa
Further information:

Further reports about: DNA Membrane mel-28

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Gene therapy shows promise for treating Niemann-Pick disease type C1
27.10.2016 | NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute

nachricht 'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape
27.10.2016 | International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

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

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>