Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Switching mutations on and off again

12.04.2016

Kiel research team facilitates functional genomics with new procedure

Mould is primarily associated with various health risks. However, it also plays a lesser-known role, but one which is particularly important in biotechnology. The mould (ascomycete) Aspergillus niger, for example, has been used for for around 100 years to industrially produce citric acid, which is used as a preservative additive in many foodstuffs.


The more Doxycycline is added, the more active the mobile genetic element becomes, and the number of mutant colonies rises.

Photo: Prof. Frank Kempken

In order to research the genetic mechanisms which could shed light on the potential application spectrum of mould and its metabolic products, a research team from Kiel University has developed a new procedure in collaboration with colleagues from Leiden University in the Netherlands.

It allows the rapid production of a large number of genetic variations of the mould Aspergillus niger, and the subsequent specification of the resulting genetic attributes. The research team led by Professor Frank Kempken, head of the Department of Genetics and Molecular Biology at Kiel University and member of the research focus “Kiel Life Science”, published their new findings in the scientific journal Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology.

Biotechnological research makes use of genetically-modified model organisms, also known as mutants, in order to determine the functions of specific genes. Scientists refer to this as functional genomics. One of the procedures used for this is known as random mutagenesis. It scrambles the genetic information, and thereby produces different clones of an organism. The analysis of the varying attributes then allows conclusions to be drawn of the effects of specific genes.

In this context, the Kiel research team focussed on a line of the ascomycete Aspergillus niger, which is widely used in scientific research. It is characterised by the fact that one of the mobile genetic elements involved in the creation of mutations, known as Tan/Vader, is permanently non-functional, and can therefore not create mutations. Experiments conducted by the research team have resulted in a breakthrough, enabling an on/off switchable variant of this mobile element to be introduced to Aspergillus niger. Through the addition of an antibiotic substance known as Doxycycline, Tan/Vader can be switched on and then create mutants. When the research team did not add the substance again, the mobile element became inactive once more.

The switching on and off of the mobile element Tan/Vader thereby enables the production either of quickly and randomly mutating lines, or genetically stable lines of the mould. The behaviour of the mould lines in terms of their tendency to mutate can therefore be precisely controlled. “The new procedure allows us to create a large amount of modified mould in a short time, in order to subsequently investigate their attributes. These findings are of major significance for researching the genetic repertoire of Aspergillus niger with respect to its biotechnological potential,” said Kempken on the impact of the new research.

Filamentous moulds such as Aspergillus niger are extensively researched in biotechnology, particularly due to their ability to form complex enzymes. Such enzymes then form the basis of various applications, for example in food production or the development of new medicines. The latest results from the Kiel research team provide the scientific community with a new tool to facilitate such research in future.

Photos are available to download:
http://www.uni-kiel.de/download/pm/2016/2016-097-1.jpg
The more Doxycycline is added, the more active the mobile genetic element becomes, and the number of mutant colonies rises.
Photo: Prof. Frank Kempken

Original publication:
Paun, L., Nitsche, B., Homan, T., Ram, A.F. and F. Kempken (2016): An inducible tool for random mutagenesis in Aspergillus niger based on the transposon Vader.
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007%2Fs00253-016-7438-3

Contact:
Prof. Frank Kempken
Department of Genetics and Molecular Biology
Botanical Institute and Botanical Gardens, Kiel University
Tel.: +49 (0)431-880-4274
E-mail: fkempken@bot.uni-kiel.de

More information:
Department of Genetics and Molecular Biology
Botanical Institute and Botanical Gardens, Kiel University
http://www.uni-kiel.de/Botanik/Kempken/fbkem.shtml

Research focus "Kiel Life Science“, Kiel University
http://www.kls.uni-kiel.de

Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Press, Communication and Marketing, Dr Boris Pawlowski, Text: Christian Urban
Postal address: D-24098 Kiel, Germany, Telephone: +49 (0)431 880-2104, Fax: +49 (0)431 880-1355
E-mail: presse@uv.uni-kiel.de, Internet: www.uni-kiel.de
Twitter: www.twitter.com/kieluni, Facebook: www.facebook.com/kieluni

Dr. Boris Pawlowski | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells
12.12.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Smelling the forest – not the trees
12.12.2018 | Universität Konstanz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

Im Focus: Three components on one chip

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.

Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...

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

New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule

12.12.2018 | Health and Medicine

CCNY-Yale researchers make shape shifting cell breakthrough

12.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Pain: Perception and motor impulses arise in the brain independently of one another

12.12.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>