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 Immune Defense Without Collateral Damage
23.01.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika
23.01.2017 | D'Or Institute for Research and Education

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>