Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Work with Fungus Uncovering Keys to DNA Methylation

16.12.2008
Researchers in a University of Oregon lab have shed more light on the mechanism that regulates DNA methylation, a fundamental biological process in which a methyl group is attached to DNA, the genetic material in cells of living organisms.

DNA methylation is essential for normal growth and development in plants and animals. It has been implicated in long-term memory, and irregularities in its process are associated with diseases such as cancer.

In the UO's Institute of Molecular Biology, Eric U. Selker and members of his laboratory use a quickly reproducing and easy-to-manipulate fungus, Neurospora crassa, to explore the control of DNA methylation. Neurospora is considered the simplest model organism for such research.

Reporting in the Dec. 15 issue of the journal Genes & Development, Selker and Keyur K. Adhvaryu, a postdoctoral researcher in the Selker lab, document that the enzyme protein phosphatase PP1 is necessary for normal methylation of DNA.

In the nucleus of eukaryotic cells, DNA is wrapped around histone proteins to form chromatin, and one histone, H3, turns out to be critical for DNA methylation. "It was long thought that histones were simply structural proteins, but we are learning that these proteins are also informational," Selker said.

This was demonstrated in the journal Nature in 2001 by Selker and his former postdoctoral research associate Hisashi Tamaru. They found that a protein required for DNA methylation, DIM-5, is an enzyme that adds a methyl group onto lysine 9 of histone H3. "This was the first solid indication that chromatin is important for DNA methylation," Selker said.

The new paper by Adhvaryu and Selker shows that PP1 is important to remove phosphates attached to serine 10 of H3, the site immediately adjacent to the site that DIM-5 needs to methylate, leading to DNA methylation.

In an accompanying article in the same issue of Genes & Development, Wolfgang Fischle, a biochemist at the Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, praises the findings of Selker and Adhvaryu. He writes that there appears to be extensive "crosstalk" involved in the chemical modifications that occur on histones to influence other enzymes that interact with chromatin "Adhvaryu and Selker provide novel insights into an intricate regulatory network involving histone phosphorylation, histone methylation and DNA methylation," he noted.

"DNA methylation seems to be a luxury item in Neurospora, which means we can manipulate it as we wish, making mutants that don't do it and thereby identify important players," Selker said. "We are identifying how DNA methylation is controlled and what it does in this organism. Our assumption is that a lot of what we find in Neurospora will be applicable to other systems."

In this case, Selker said, Keyur demonstrated very nicely, in a couple different ways, that protein phosphatase PP1 is required for normal DNA methylation. "DNA methylation is involved in a silencing of invasive DNA as well as a variety of normal genes, including those on the inactive X chromosome, those subjected to imprinting, and well as tumor suppressor genes," he said, adding that methylation of the latter class of genes can lead to cancer.

The research was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health to Selker and in part by an American Heart Association fellowship to Adhvaryu.

About the University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is a world-class teaching and research institution and Oregon's flagship public university. The UO is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization made up of 62 of the leading public and private research institutions in the United States and Canada. Membership in the AAU is by invitation only. The University of Oregon is one of only two AAU members in the Pacific Northwest.

Source: Eric Selker, professor of biology, 541-346-5197, selker@uoregon.edu

Links: Selker faculty Web page: http://www.molbio.uoregon.edu/facres/selker.php; UO department of biology: http://biology.uoregon.edu/people/faculty.php

Jim Barlow | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.uoregon.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Flavins keep a handy helper in their pocket
25.04.2018 | University of Freiburg

nachricht Complete skin regeneration system of fish unraveled
24.04.2018 | Tokyo Institute of Technology

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Getting electrons to move in a semiconductor

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Reconstructing what makes us tick

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Cheap 3-D printer can produce self-folding materials

25.04.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>