The study, which highlights the role of mitochondrial genome variation in the pathogenesis of common diseases, is published online in Genome Research (www.genome.org).
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 7% of the U.S. population has diabetes, and 90-95% of those cases are classified as type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is caused by external factors such as diet and exercise, and is influenced by several genes. While most of the genes known to be involved in diabetes susceptibility are located in the nuclear genome, a recent study estimated that more than 20% of type 2 diabetes cases may involve mutations in the mitochondrial genome.
In the study published today, the scientists compared two different rat strains; the strains possessed virtually identical nuclear genomes but different mitochondrial genomes. This eliminated any complicating effects due to environmental factors or variation in the nuclear genome. Any differences observed between the two rat strains could be attributed to variation in the mitochondria.
When comparing the two rat strains, the researchers found that the two strains exhibited significant differences related to energy metabolism and storage. One rat strain exhibited impaired glucose tolerance, reduced muscle glycogen synthesis, decreased skeletal muscle ATP (energy) levels, and decreased activity of an energy-producing enzyme called cytochrome c oxidase, when compared to the second rat strain. These metabolic characteristics are typical of diabetic individuals.
The researchers then obtained DNA sequences from mitochondria of both rat strains, and found DNA variants in genes that encode for proteins involved in energy production. Thus, for the first time, they were able to directly link inherited variation in the mitochondrial genome to metabolic markers for type 2 diabetes.
“Our study highlights the role of mitochondrial DNA variation in common genetic diseases,” says Dr. Theodore Kurtz, the lead investigator on the project. “In addition, the animal models developed in this study will open the door for future studies in which the effects of mitochondrial genome variation can be investigated on fixed nuclear genetic backgrounds.”
Cnidarians remotely control bacteria
21.09.2017 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
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21.09.2017 | NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
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