Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

U of T researchers identify protein

08.09.2009
Researchers at the University of Toronto have identified a protein which plays a key role in the development of neurons, which could enhance our understanding of how the brain works, and how diseases such as Alzheimer's occur.

U of T graduate student John Calarco, working in the labs of Prof. Ben Blencowe (Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, University of Toronto) and Prof. Mei Zhen (Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital), has identified a protein known as nSR100, which is only found in vertebrate species and which controls a network of "alternative splicing events" that are located in the messages of genes with critical functions in the formation of the nervous system. The findings are published in a paper in the current edition of the journal Cell.

Alternative splicing events greatly expand the diversity of the genetic messages and corresponding proteins produced by genes in vertebrate cells, and this process partially accounts for the evolution of remarkable complexity in organs such as the mammalian brain. Calarco, recipient of a prestigious Alexander Graham Bell Studentship, together with colleagues in the Blencowe Lab, identified nSR100 using computational and experimental methods and then determined its role in the control of alternative splicing in the brain. These studies revealed that nSR100 regulates splicing events in genes that help form neurons.

Collaborator and co-author Brian Ciruna and his colleagues at the the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Torontofurther demonstrated that nSR100 plays a critical role in the development of the vertebrate nervous system.

"The brain is by far the most complex organ in the human body and understanding how it functions represents one of the foremost challenges of biomedical research. A large number of neurological disorders arise when the development and function of certain neurons is impaired. A major research goal is therefore to identify key genes required for the specification and function of neurons in the brain, and nSR100 represents such a gene," said Prof. Blencowe, principal investigator on the study.

Calarco added that the findings present a new avenue of investigation for researchers. "The study provides intriguing insight into how the evolution of a single protein has contributed to the expansion of brain complexity in vertebrates – including humans.

Further investigation into the complex network of splicing events regulated by nSR100 may uncover important aspects of how neurons normally function and also how they become impaired in neurological diseases like Alzheimer's."

The authors' research is supported by funds from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Ontario Research Fund and Genome Canada through the Ontario Genomics Institute.

Cell Paper Authors:

John A. Calarco (Banting and Best Department of Medical Research, Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto); Simone Superina (Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto and Program in Developmental and Stem Cell Biology, The Hospital for Sick Children); Dave O'Hanlon (Banting and Best Department of Medical Research, Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, University of Toronto); Mathieu Gabut (Banting and Best Department of Medical Research, Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, University of Toronto);Bushra Raj (Banting and Best Department of Medical Research, Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto); Qun Pan (Banting and Best Department of Medical Research, Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, University of Toronto);Ursula Skalska (Banting and Best Department of Medical Research, Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, University of Toronto); Laura Clarke(Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto); Danielle Gelinas (Program in Developmental and Stem Cell Biology, The Hospital for Sick Children);Derek van der Kooy (Banting and Best Department of Medical Research, Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto); Mei Zhen (Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto and Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital); Brian Ciruna (Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto and Program in Developmental and Stem Cell Biology, The Hospital for Sick Children); Benjamin J. Blencowe (Banting and Best Department of Medical Research, Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto and Centre for Bioinformatics, King's College, University of London)

For more information:

Ben Blencowe and John Calarco
University of Toronto
Banting and Best Department of Medical Research
Department of Molecular Genetics
Terrence Donnelly CCBR
(416) 978-3016 (office)
(416) 471-8075 (cell)
(416) 978-7150 (lab)
b.blencowe@utoronto.ca
john.calarco@utoronto.ca
Other inquiries:
Paul Cantin
Associate Director, Strategic Communications,
University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine
ph: 416-978-2890
paul.cantin@utoronto.ca
Health Starts Here

April Kemick | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utoronto.ca
http://www.facmed.utoronto.ca

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
21.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nagoya physicists resolve long-standing mystery of structure-less transition

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Chronic stress induces fatal organ dysfunctions via a new neural circuit

21.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Scientists from the MSU studied new liquid-crystalline photochrom

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>