An Ohio State University molecular biologist leveraged a supercomputer to help better define the family tree of a group of enzymes that have been implicated in a wide range of human diseases and are important targets for anti-cancer therapies.
Along with several OSU colleagues, Rebecca S. Lamb, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Molecular Genetics, recently analyzed the evolutionary history of the poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase (PARP) superfamily.
These proteins are found in eukaryotes, a wide range of organisms – animals, plants, molds, fungi, algae and protozoa –whose cells contain complex structures enclosed within membranes. While PARP proteins can be found with any of these “supergroups,” they have been most extensively studied in mammals.
“In these organisms, PARPs have key functions in DNA repair, genome integrity and epigenetic regulation,” said Lamb. “More recently it has been found that proteins within the PARP superfamily have a broader range of functions that initially predicted.”
The researchers used computers to identify 236 PARP proteins from 77 species across five of the six supergroups. Lamb then accessed the Glen Cluster at the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) to perform extensive phylogenetic analyses of the identified PARP regions.
“This is computationally intensive work that would have been impossible without the computer resources provided at OSC,” Lamb said. “In particular, the ability to try a variety of tools that require a great deal of CPU and memory capabilities was essential for success.”
Amongst other tools, she employed the PhyML3.0 software package, which fit a statistical model to the aligned sequence data and provided estimates for the model’s parameters.
“Dr. Lamb’s project is an excellent example of a scientist running a very domain-specific software package on our state-of-the-art systems,” said Ashok Krishnamurthy, Ph.D., interim co-executive director of OSC. “While the center maintains a large collection of licensed and open-source software, there are occasions where very specialized or customized applications are required. Our staff mdembers are very good at working with researchers to modify these codes to get them installed, running and delivering results.”
Access to powerful OSC systems allowed the researchers to experiment with a wide variety of options and parameters, in order to achieve the best results, Lamb noted.
“PARPs are found in all eukaryotic supergroups for which sequence is available, but some individual lineages within supergroups have independently lost these genes,” said Lamb. “The PARP superfamily can be subdivided into six branches or ‘clades.’ Two of these clades were likely found in the last common eukaryotic ancestor. In addition, we have identified PARPs in organisms in which they have not previously been described.”
Three main conclusions were drawn from the study. First, the broad distribution and pattern of representation of PARP genes indicated to the researchers that the ancestor of all existing eukaryotes encoded proteins of this type. Second, the ancestral PARP proteins had different functions and activities. One of these proteins likely functioned in DNA damage response. Third, the diversity of the PARP superfamily is larger than previously documented, suggesting as more eukaryotic genomes become available, this gene family will grow in both number and type.
The study, “Evolutionary history of the poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase gene family in eukaryotes,” was authored by Lamb and OSU colleagues Matteo Citarelli and Sachin Teotia and appeared in a recent issue of the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology. The work was supported by a grant from the Ohio Plant Biotechnology Consortium and by funds from the Ohio State University.
The Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) is a catalytic partner of Ohio universities and industries that provides reliable advanced computational infrastructure and services for academic and industry research. OSC is funded by the Ohio Board of Regents to provide advanced computation, research and educational resources to a diverse statewide community, including higher education, K-12, and industry. More information is available at www.osc.edu.
Mr. Jamie Abel | EurekAlert!
Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care
Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses