Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New way found to see light through novel protein identified by Dartmouth geneticists

05.07.2002


Dartmouth Medical School geneticists have discovered a new class of proteins that see light, revealing a previously unknown system for how light works.



The novel photoreceptors are part of the gears that drive biological clocks, the cellular timekeepers of the circadian rhythm, which paces life’s daily ebb and flow in a 24-hour light-dark cycle. Their identification also opens a window for genetically engineered drug delivery systems that exploit the properties of these newfound molecules.

The findings, by Drs. Jay Dunlap and Jennifer Loros, and graduate student Allan Froehlich, will be published in an upcoming issue of Science; they are currently reported online in Science Express.


Dunlap, professor and chair of genetics, and Loros, professor of biochemistry, were the first to delineate circadian clockwork in Neurospora, the common bread mold and one of the best-known genetic model systems. They pieced together how the circadian cycle works and demonstrated how light resets it through a complex of interwoven molecular messages.

"That left open the question then of what actually absorbed the light. What we found is a new paradigm within clocks," Dunlap says. "Light is absorbed by a molecule that is actually within the clock and is an activating element in the clock cycle. This is a new molecular mechanism to see light and a new way for light to have an effect. Although the protein has been known for sometime, this is a configuration of activities that’s not been reported before for any protein."

Since bread mold belongs to the fungal phylogenetic kingdom, eventually researchers may be able to harness the proteins against fungal disease. "Virtually nothing is known about how pathogenic fungi respond to light or whether that can be exploited for a noninvasive therapy," Dunlap acknowledges. It may be a long shot, but drug therapies start with properties people don’t have. "If you want to do therapy--antifungal, antibacterial or anything--you start looking for biochemical activities that the host does not have that can be targeted on the pathogen."

Froelich, a graduate student with Dunlap and Loros, built on their discovery that the gene frequency (frq) encodes a central cog of the clock cycle and that light resets the clock by acting on frq. He identified the frq parts necessary and sufficient for light induced expression of the gene, and determined that the proteins that bind to these parts are the clock proteins White Collar-1 and White Collar-2 (WC-1 and WC-2). He then showed that both proteins were sufficient for binding, that under appropriate biochemical conditions they could also detect light and, subsequently, that WC-1 is actually the photoreceptor protein.

WC-1 is a transcription factor that partners with WC-2, and binds to DNA of light-regulated genes. Transcription factors are proteins whose role is to regulate expression of genes; they bind to DNA and turn on genes, Dunlap explains. "This is the first case of a transcription factor that is itself a photo pigment and a transcription factor that contains both ability to turn on gene expression and ability to do that in response to light within the same protein."


For further information, contact Jay Dunlap at: Jay.Dunlap@dartmouth.edu.

DMS Communications | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.dartmouth.edu/dms/news

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Mass spectrometry sheds new light on thallium poisoning cold case
14.12.2018 | University of Maryland

nachricht Protein involved in nematode stress response identified
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>