Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Of Yeast and Men: An evolutionary tale

07.05.2012
Scientists at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna discover and elucidate the function of conserved cell division proteins in yeast

The adult human body consists of trillions of cells. Cell proliferation is accomplished by means of cell division in which an existing cell serves as the exact blueprint for its progeny. This process follows the same basic principles in all higher organisms. First, the genetic information is precisely copied and subsequently equally distributed between the mother and daughter.


Dividing human cancer cell in Metaphase. The DNA (gray) is attached to the spindle apparatus (pseudocolored). Copyright: IMP/Ladurner

The major task for the dividing cell is to drag two complete sets of chromosomes to the opposite sides of the nucleus, respectively. A logistic challenge accomplished by the interplay of two factors: the spindle apparatus that acts as the molecular motor driving chromosome movements, and the kinetochore that constitutes the physical platform between the DNA and the mitotic spindle.

The attachment site formed by the kinetochore is an intricate protein network. While its components providing the direct contact point for the spindle are very well preserved from yeast to human, evolution of the DNA-binding proteins remained puzzling given that the underlying DNA template is highly variable.

Now, a novel study published in the June edition of Nature Cell Biology sheds light onto the cryptic molecular relationship between the yeast and human kinetochore. Principal investigator Stefan Westermann and his team tracked the missing evolutionary link and opened up new insights into the architecture and function of the key division organelle.

The correct shape pieces the puzzle together

“The clue was to take a close look at the protein sequence as well as specific sequence motifs that get an amino acid chain into its particular shape.” says Stefan Westermann. “In this way, our bioinformatician Alexander Schleiffer was able to predict a number of novel DNA-binding kinetochore proteins and assigned them to the respective human homolog.” Follow-up experiments strongly supported analogous function of the proteins. “Yeast is still an informative model organism and very easy to handle. Our current findings can now direct similar studies in more complex systems. There erroneous chromosome segregation is deleterious for the cell and a common cause of cancer” explains the scientist.

Pull chromosomes together

One of the novel proteins, termed Cnn1, turns out to be of special interest. It connects to the kinetochore molecule Ndc80 that is the major contact point for the spindle apparatus. “This particular interaction is not essential for the initial attachment of the spindle. It rather plays a supporting role that timely overlaps with maximal pulling forces acting on the chromosomes” says Stefan Westermann.
ENDS

The paper “CENP-T proteins are conserved centromere receptors of the Ndc80 complex” by Schleiffer et al. will be published online on Nature Cell Biology's website on 06 May, 2012 (DOI 10.1038/ncb2493).

About the IMP
The IMP is a basic research institute in Vienna, Austria. Its main sponsor is Boehringer Ingelheim International, headquartered in Germany. With over 220 employees from more than 30 different nations, the IMP is a Center of Excellence in the life sciences and the core unit of the Campus Vienna Biocenter. Research at the IMP aims at elucidating the molecular basis of normal development and disease.

Contact:
Dr. Heidemarie Hurtl
IMP Communications
Tel. +43 1 79730-3625
mobile: +43 (0)664 8247910
hurtl@imp.ac.at

Scientific Contact:
Dr. Stefan Westermann
westermann@imp.ac.at

Dr. Heidemarie Hurtl | idw
Further information:
http://www.imp.ac.at

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Bolstering fat cells offers potential new leukemia treatment
17.10.2017 | McMaster University

nachricht Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes
17.10.2017 | King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

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...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

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....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

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...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

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...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>