Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

’Looking’ at Eyeless from two directions

09.03.2006


When Dr. Rui Chen, assistant professor in the Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Center, sought to understand further the protein called Eyeless, he faced a dilemma.



Eyeless is a transcription factor, which means one of its major activities is to turn off or turn on other genes that have an effect on eye development later in the process. It is so powerful that when it is inserted into almost any tissues of the fruit fly, eyes grow – often in unexpected places.

Because Eyeless is a critical factor in the development of eyes in fruit flies or Drosophila, (a common model organism for studying how different organs grow), understanding the genes it affects could offer key clues into how the organs for sight actually develop in fruit flies and ultimately people.


One method for locating these genes is called a microarray, a tiny DNA chip used to identify specific sequences of genetic material. A microarray can provide hundreds of candidate genes – too many to be useful. Another method is to use bioinformatics and computers to predict where transcription factors bind, but this can give thousands of candidate genes. Again, that’s too much information to be valuable.

Chen, however, took a different tack. He used both methods. Then he dealt with only the genes and binding sequences that were found by both. Of the 300 genes found by microarray and 10,000 or more by the binding site technique, only 21 were found by both.

Because 11 of these were known to play a key role in eye development, he knew he was on the right track. A report of his work appears online today in the journal Genome Research.

"The reason I like this project is that it provides the possibility of doing this in almost any species," said Chen. "It’s a combination of genomic and biologic techniques."

"Finding specific targets of a transcription factor is the Holy Grail for many biologists," said Dr. Graeme Mardon, senior co-author and a professor in the Program in Developmental Biology at BCM. In this case, he said, the researchers have shown that the genes they found are, in fact, targets of the Eyeless protein.

"We are now in the process of knocking out hundreds of genes predicted to be targets of this retinal network," said Mardon. "This has opened the door to determining what are the critical targets of this gene for eye development. Others can use similar methods to do the same thing."

Eventually, he said, the technique could be used to identify genes that are involved in similar processes that go wrong, leading to diseases. This will identify the areas where things go wrong so that researchers can target proposed therapies and drugs in the future.

In their area, the technique speeds the process of identifying those genes that are really important in identifying the genes critical to development of the eye.

"It also gives you a global picture of what the transcription factor does," said Chen. "This is also a molecular screen" that will be valuable in studying mammals.

Ross Tomlin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bcm.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

nachricht The gut microbiota plays a key role in treatment with classic diabetes medication
01.06.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>