Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

MIT research sheds light on cell division

17.04.2008
Work could impact study of miscarriages, birth defects
Proteins that control cell division play a far more nuanced role than researchers previously thought in the process that gives rise to reproductive cells, according to new findings by MIT biologists.

The work, reported in the April 18 issue of Cell, could help scientists understand why errors occcur so often during this process, known as meiosis. Meiotic mistakes are a leading cause of miscarriage and birth defects such as mental retardation.

Authors of the paper are Angelika Amon, MIT biology professor and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and biology graduate student Thomas Carlile.

Meiosis is a critical part of the reproductive cycle, producing reproductive cells with only one set of chromosomes (eggs and sperm in humans, spores in yeast, the organism the researchers studied).

Meiosis is more complex than the other type of cell division, mitosis, which occurs when a cell splits into two "daughter cells," each identical to the original.

Both meiosis and mitosis are controlled by proteins known as cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs). In humans, there are 11 different types of CDKs, and in yeast, there are nine.

During mitosis, the CDKs are largely interchangeable. Until now, researchers had assumed that the same was true during meiosis.

This study shows that different CDKs have different roles during meiosis, which occurs in two stages, meiosis I and meiosis II. The researchers found that a protein called clb1-CDK stimulates meiosis I, and clb3-CDK promotes meiosis II.

"For the first time, we're beginning to understand that maybe in mitosis it doesn't matter (which clb-CDKs are present), but when you start doing complicated things, it starts to matter which type of CDK is active and how it's regulated," said Amon.

During meiosis, chromosomes line up along the cell's equator before being pulled into one of the resulting reproductive cells. Mistakes during that process lead to an extra or missing copy of one chromosome, which results in fatal defects or mental retardation, such as Down's Syndrome.

Amon's work could help provide a foundation for understanding why such errors occur so often. (It is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of human conceptions end in miscarriage, often because the fetus has the wrong number of chromosomes.)

"You have to understand the process in detail before you can go on and find out what's wrong with it," Amon said.

Part of the reason that no one has observed these different roles for CDKs before is that it is very difficult to get yeast cells to undergo meiosis in synchrony. Amon and Carlile, lead author of the paper, developed a technique to do just that, allowing them to see the novel behavior for the first time.

Eventually the researchers hope to discover whether meiosis in humans is controlled in similar ways.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
--By Anne Trafton, MIT News Office

Teresa Herbert | MIT News Office
Further information:
http://www.mit.edu

Further reports about: Amon CDK Chromosome meiosis mitosis reproductive

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The secret sulfate code that lets the bad Tau in
16.07.2018 | American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

nachricht Colorectal cancer risk factors decrypted
16.07.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nano-kirigami: 'Paper-cut' provides model for 3D intelligent nanofabrication

16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

New players, standardization and digitalization for more rail freight transport

16.07.2018 | Transportation and Logistics

Researchers discover natural product that could lead to new class of commercial herbicide

16.07.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>