Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sister glue makes sex successful – how sets of genes stick together

25.11.2010
A glue made of protein which sticks our packages of genes together may hold the secret of successful sex, say scientists today. It may also help to explain why older mothers are much more at risk of having babies with Down’s syndrome or other genetic abnormalities caused by the failure of the original embryo cells to divide and separate properly.

Another protein glue usually makes it possible for our genes to be copied and kept together as parallel strands before neatly splitting into two batches of separate chromosomes to become the nucleus of new cells, according to research published in the current issue of the scientific journal Cell (November 24, 2010).


Human mitotic chromosomes, Cohesin dyed in blue
Copyright: IMP

The action of the ‘sister’ glue called sororin may be the missing link in the way the main glue protein called cohesin allows identical DNA strands to bind together in such a stable way that all the chromosomes in a cell can line up and then divide into their two groups during cell division. It is this action which makes all sex possible, allowing genes from two different people, the parents, to mix together to make a new unique individual, their baby.

It is also the mechanism which most often goes wrong in embryo fertilisation in older mothers, leading to miscarriages during pregnancy or genetic abnormalities such as Down’s syndrome babies born with their characteristic facial features and mental retardation. Recent research has shown that as many as 35% of human eggs from women in their forties have either an extra or a missing chromosome. Now scientists have finally started to study the mechanism behind these mistakes made within our bodies.

“We believe that this second glue protein, sororin, is critical in understanding the way embryo cells make these mistakes when copying chromosomes”, says Jan-Michael Peters from the Institute of Molecular Pathology, Vienna, Austria, who led the new research.

The puzzle has been to find out how the glue protein, cohesin makes the two halves of each copied chromosome stick together until exactly the right moment when a cell divides. It has to stop itself being prematurely cut by other proteins in the cell nucleus which act as biological scissors when the cell separates.

Now the Austrian research team has discovered that the new glue protein sororin acts as a shield for the cohesin, protecting it from being removed from DNA too early, stopping the individual members of the pairs of chromosomes drifting free from each other.

“If the cohesion lets go too soon, the individual chromosome halves run the risk of ending up in the wrong cell nucleus, which could mean that a new egg cell has one too many or one too few chromosomes”, says Tomoko Nishiyama from the Peters research team. “This can lead to an unviable egg, an embryo that dies in the womb, a miscarriage, or a baby born with genetic abnormalities like Down’s syndrome”.

"While this work gives us a new and important bit of basic information about cell division, it also points us towards further research in understanding exactly what goes wrong with the missing and extra chromosomes which cause genetic diseases", Jan-Michael Peters adds.

The paper "Sororin Mediates Sister Chromatid Cohesion by Antagonizing Wapl" (Nishiyama et al.) is published in Cell on Wednesday, November 24, 2010.

About the IMP
The IMP is a basic research institute in Vienna, Austria. Its main sponsor is Boehringer Ingelheim International, headquartered in Germany. With over 220 employees from 30 different nations,the IMP is a Center of Excellence in the life sciences and the core unit of the Campus Vienna Biocenter. Research at the IMP aims at elucidating the molecular basis of normal development and disease.
Contact
Dr. Heidemarie Hurtl
IMP-IMBA Communications
Tel. +43 1 79730-3625
mobile: +43 (0)664 8247910
hurtl@imp.ac.at
Scientific Contact
Dr. Jan-Michael Peters
Jan-Michael.Peters@imp.ac.at

Dr. Heidemarie Hurtl | idw
Further information:
http://www.imp.ac.at

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Closing the carbon loop
08.12.2016 | University of Pittsburgh

nachricht Newly discovered bacteria-binding protein in the intestine
08.12.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

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,...

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

Closing the carbon loop

08.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>