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!
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy