Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Joining forces to unveil cell division

02.04.2010
A European team led by scientists in Vienna presents a database for cell cycle control

The EU-funded project MitoCheck, which started in 2004, has now been successfully rounded off. Eleven European research teams and companies, coordinated by the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna, studied the genetic basis of cell division. The findings are published today in the scientific journals Science and Nature.

How does one cell become two, two cells become four, and finally develop into an entire organism? This question has puzzled biologists for the past 150 years, ever since they knew that living beings are made up of cells produced by repeated divisions, all originating from one fertilized egg. How exactly this process is controlled has remained a mystery. Researchers led by Jan-Michael Peters at the IMP have now come much closer to solving the puzzle.

Although it has long been possible to watch dividing cells under a microscope, scientists did not know exactly which genes are involved in the process and how. They knew even less about the role of the proteins encoded by these genes. To fill the gaps, eleven European research teams and companies joined forces to reveal the molecular basis of human cell division. The project "MitoCheck" was coordinated by the IMP and received 8.6 Million Euros of funding from the European Commission. The results of the combined effort have now been published.

In order to find out which genes are involved in cell division, the group of Jan Ellenberg at EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg) had to systematically inactivate each and every human gene - in total 22 000 - in cultured cells. Using video microscopy, the scientists then made movies of the cells to find out whether and how these gene inactivations affected cell division. As a next step, the group of Jan-Michael Peters then analyzed how the proteins encoded by these genes assembled to form molecular machines that control the different steps of cell division.

The result of this international teamwork is the first catalogue of all human genes required for cell division. The researchers have also come up with the blueprint for many of the molecular machines which carry out the instructions laid down in the genes. All data are now made available for public use by means of a database of the human genome (http://www.mitocheck.org). At the same time, the MitoCheck-team has published the most relevant results in the two journals Science and Nature. 1) 2)

"Our database is going to be an important source of information for many areas of biomedical research. It is also a good example of how the complex and ambitious issues in science can only be addressed in a joint international effort", says project coordinator Jan-Michael Peters. MitoCheck represents not only a milestone for understanding cell division, but will prove very useful for other disciplines in the life sciences. The work of MitoCheck has spurred the development of many new techniques, such as automated video microscopy.

In the long run, scientists want to fully understand how cell division works and to use this knowledge for the development of causal therapies for cancer. This ambitious goal will require a lot more basic research in the near future. A first step has already been made: the European Union is going to fund a follow-up project over the next five years. "MitoSys", as it is called, will also be coordinated by the IMP and will start later this year.

1) The paper "Systematic Characterization of Human Protein Complexes Identifies Chromosome Segregation Proteins" by the IMP team (Hutchins et al.) will be published online in Science on April 1st, 2010.

2) The paper "Phenotypic profiling of the human genome by time-lapse microscopy reveals cell division genes" by the EMBL team (Neumann et al.) will be published in Nature on April 1st, 2010.

Contact:
Mag. Evelyn Missbach, MAS
IMP-IMBA Communications
Tel: +43 1 79730 3626
evelyn.missbach@imba.oeaw.ac.at
Dr. Yan Sun
Project-Coordinator
Tel: +43 1 79730 3254
Yan.sun@imp.ac.at
Scientific Contact:
Dr. Jan-Michael Peters
Jan-Michael.Peters@imp.ac.at

Evelyn Missbach | idw
Further information:
http://www.mitocheck.org
http://www.imp.ac.at/pressefoto-mitocheck

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists discovered 20 new gnat species in Brazil
24.09.2018 | Estonian Research Council

nachricht Brought to light – chromobodies reveal changes in endogenous protein concentration in living cells
21.09.2018 | NMI Naturwissenschaftliches und Medizinisches Institut an der Universität Tübingen

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Scientists present new observations to understand the phase transition in quantum chromodynamics

The building blocks of matter in our universe were formed in the first 10 microseconds of its existence, according to the currently accepted scientific picture. After the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, matter consisted mainly of quarks and gluons, two types of elementary particles whose interactions are governed by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interaction. In the early universe, these particles moved (nearly) freely in a quark-gluon plasma.

This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.

Then, in a phase transition, they combined and formed hadrons, among them the building blocks of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons. In the current issue of...

Im Focus: Patented nanostructure for solar cells: Rough optics, smooth surface

Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.

"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...

Im Focus: New soft coral species discovered in Panama

A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.

Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...

Im Focus: New devices based on rust could reduce excess heat in computers

Physicists explore long-distance information transmission in antiferromagnetic iron oxide

Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.

Im Focus: Finding Nemo's genes

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

"Boston calling": TU Berlin and the Weizenbaum Institute organize a conference in USA

21.09.2018 | Event News

One of the world’s most prominent strategic forums for global health held in Berlin in October 2018

03.09.2018 | Event News

4th Intelligent Materials - European Symposium on Intelligent Materials

27.08.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Matter falling into a black hole at 30 percent of the speed of light

24.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA balloon mission captures electric blue clouds

24.09.2018 | Earth Sciences

New way to target advanced breast cancers

24.09.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>