Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New method to analyse the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) of the human genome

25.04.2006
Scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have developed a new method for analyzing the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) of the human genome. This large region, found on chromosome 6, encodes more than 400 known genes. The best known of these genes are the HLA genes that govern tissue type and participate in the immune system by protecting people from infection or by governing susceptibility to autoimmune diseases or cancer.

The researchers’ new lab method is described in the paper "Long-range Multi-locus Haplotype Phasing of the MHC" which was published today (April 21) in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The paper will appear in the May 2 print edition. The method may have the potential of being an efficient way to map genes in the MHC that are responsible for many human diseases, and might also be useful in studying other gene complexes that have a lot of variability.

The senior and corresponding author is Effie Petersdorf, M.D., member of the Clinical Research Division. Fellow researchers are Zhen Guo, Ph.D., and Mari Malkki, Ph.D., of the Clinical Research Division; and Dr. Leroy Hood of Seattle’s Institute for Systems Biology.

The MHC is one of the most diverse regions of the human genome, and its diversity is thought to have been shaped by widely varying evolutionary forces. Many of its genes are ancient and may have remained unchanged throughout human evolution.

The MHC also governs the degree of people’s acceptance or rejection of transplanted organs or bone marrow transplants. Identical twins, for example, have identical MHC genes and therefore can receive transplants from each other without risk of rejection. The MHC also is likely to govern many as yet unknown functions in the human body.

Segments of MHC are almost always inherited as an entire block, called a haplotype, a word that means "single unit," rather than as separate genes. Haplotypes may be one of the genetic reasons behind complex diseases that are not associated with just one gene or one genetic mutation, but with sets of genes.

About a year ago, an international collaboration of scientists produced a haplotype map of the human genome named the HapMap. The project was an effort to catalog genetic variation throughout the human genome, including the MHC region.

Family studies and statistical analysis are among the tools used to determine haplotypes. In addition, several laboratory methods have been developed to define haplotypes. However, these methods have limitations in studying the MHC because of its extensive diversity, the uneven distribution of its coding variation and the physical distances between genes within the MHC region.

"Population genetic epidemiology studies of unrelated individuals may lack family studies to definitely ascertain the physical linkage of genes or markers on haplotypes," Petersdorf said. "To address this need, we developed a method to link HLA genes across long distances of chromosome 6. This method provides haplotype information without a family study, and may be useful for mapping genes of the MHC that cause common diseases in large unrelated populations."

The researchers decided to work on a laboratory tool to study particular sections of the MHC, a choice that was motivated by the importance of these genes in disease studies, in anthropological research, and in the selection of potential donors for organ transplants or blood and marrow transplants. They wrote that it might be possible to expand their method to span the entire MHC, but this would require reconstructing the huge complex into several overlapping segments.

The new lab method, the researchers noted, could possibly fulfill an unmet need for tools to use in conducting genetic studies in populations of unrelated individuals. The researchers have applied for a U.S. non-provisional patent for their haplotyping method.

Dean Forbes | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.fhcrc.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First transcription atlas of all wheat genes expands prospects for research and cultivation
17.08.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung

nachricht Staying in Shape
16.08.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für molekulare Zellbiologie und Genetik

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Staying in Shape

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Diving robots find Antarctic seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide in winter

16.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Protein droplets keep neurons at the ready and immune system in balance

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>