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 Bolstering fat cells offers potential new leukemia treatment
17.10.2017 | McMaster University

nachricht Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes
17.10.2017 | King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>