An international team of scientists, led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, have developed a new method for discerning the functions of previously uncharacterized genes and placing them in interactive, functional networks that reveal how gene products interact to bring about cellular events.
The research is published in the April 29 issue of the journal Cell. It was led by principal investigators Karen Oegema, PhD, professor of cellular and molecular medicine and head of the Laboratory of Mitotic Mechanisms in the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at UC San Diego, and Kristin C. Gunsalus, PhD, assistant professor in the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology in the Department of Biology at New York University.
More than a decade of genome sequencing projects have generated a comprehensive "parts" list of the genes required to build an organism, an inventory of the necessary cellular building blocks. But the functions of many of these genes remain unknown, preventing researchers from fully deciphering their cellular pathways and how their interactions might shed light on human disease.
Oegema, with the study's first author, Rebecca Green, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at the Ludwig Institute and UCSD School of Medicine, decided to take a different approach. "Rather than monitoring individual cells, we monitored the effect of gene inhibitions on the structure of a complex tissue in a multicellular organism," said Green. "In this case, the reproductive organ of C. elegans."
The scientists discovered that inhibiting different genes in the nematode produced a remarkably diverse and information-rich spectrum of effects on tissue structure, essentially creating a "fingerprint" for each gene that allowed them to predict its function.
Oegema and colleagues also developed a new method to quantitatively assess the significance of gene-gene connections, allowing them to translate the information into a functional gene network. In collaboration with Gunsalus and colleagues, who developed a Java-based tool for visualizing gene networks, they produced an integrated functional network for a set of 818 essential C. elegans genes, which has been made available to interested researchers.
The network, the scientists said, will be useful for predicting the function of related human genes and the broader approach may be useful for generating functional gene networks in other organisms, including vertebrates.
Funding for this research came, in part, from the American Cancer Society, Helen Hay Whitney Foundation, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and the National Institutes of Health.
Co-authors of the study include Arshad Desai, Kimberley Laband and Shaohe Wang, all of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and UCSD School of Medicine; Huey-Ling Kao, Monty Schulman and Fabio Piano, New York University; Anjon Audhya and Jonathan R. Mayers of the University of Wisconsin, Madison; Heidi Fridolfsson and Daniel Starr of UC Davis; Swathi Arur and Tim Schedl, Washington University, St. Louis; Sherry Niessen, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla; and Siegfried Schloissnig and Anthony Hyman of the Max Planck Institute, Germany.
Scott LaFee | EurekAlert!
The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona
Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
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...
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....
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...
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...
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...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research