Navigation Links
Call Stephen Michnick a gene grammarian
Date:12/16/2008

This release is available in French.

Montreal, December 16, 2008 While life on Earth didn't originate from a blueprint, Stephen Michnick is helping the scientific community uncover the basic architecture of living things. A Universit de Montral biochemistry professor and Canada Research Chair in Integrative Genomics, Dr. Michnick has developed novel technologies that have enabled him to examine how proteins interact within cells.

Dr. Michnick's new ways of seeing living cells promises to reduce big chunks of analysis to understand how our genomic blueprint translates into complex life. The raison d'tre of his work is to understand the fundamental chemistry of life, pinpoint where diseases begin and map out where they can be stopped killer illnesses such as cancer and Alzheimer's.

"We think of genes and proteins interact in the same manner as people process sentences," says Dr. Michnick. "Living cells do something similar with genes proteins read DNA sequence from beginning to end and translate this information in turn into new protein, which are essentially molecules that build the cells structure and control biochemical processes. But like language, there's much more to it than a simple grammatical problem; there are more abstract processes at the heart of reading genes that we need to understand."

Learning how to read genes

Dr. Michnick, who was recruited to the Universit de Montral from Harvard University, routinely collaborates with top scientists in his quest to know where life began. In a recent study published in the journal PLoS Biology, led by Harvard University's Fred Winston, the University of Toronto's Tim Hughes, Dr. Michnick and the Universit de Montral's Christian Landry helped identify genes that code for proteins that in turn control the reading of genes.

"Our team found that when these proteins are destroyed, genes are sometimes read from somewhere in the middle, which is comparable to a defective printer that transcribes only the last words of a sentence," Dr. Michnick says. "In a living cell, such misinterpretation of genes might be thought to have devastating effects, but we found that under some conditions, misreading genes might be useful."

In the PLoS study, the researchers identified proteins they described as gene grammarians. Simply put, gene grammarians are linked to a larger complex of proteins that determine whether a gene can be read or not based on DNA structure. The scientists found gene grammarians can determine whether cells have different functions and can identify the different levels of susceptibility or resistance individuals could have to specific diseases.

The study provides insight into the fundamental mechanisms of epigenetic control gene expression that are controlled by heritable but potentially reversible changes in DNA which provides a new avenue towards understanding environmental effects on the human genome.

"Epigenetic control is needed to direct the development of an embryonic stem cell, for instance, into a brain as opposed to a kidney cell," Dr. Michnick says. "Control of genes is subject to both inherited and environmental factors, so that genes may be read differently and up to what a person eats or even what their grandmother ate."


'/>"/>

Contact: Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins
sylvain-jacques.desjardins@umontreal.ca
514-343-7593
University of Montreal
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. American Society for Microbiology honors Stephen C. Edberg
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/4/2017)... -- For the thousands of attendees at this year,s International Consumer Electronics Show ... biometric measurement devices and services, will be featuring its new line of ... Medical,s special CES Exhibit Suite , the new upper arm and ... WellnessConnected product platform.  Continue ... ...
(Date:12/22/2016)... , December 22, 2016 SuperCom ... of secure solutions for the e-Government, Public Safety, HealthCare, and Finance ... of SuperCom, has been selected to implement and deploy a community-based ... Northern California , further expanding its presence in ... This ...
(Date:12/16/2016)... 16, 2016   IdentyTechSolutions America LLC , ... and solutions and a cutting-edge manufacturer of software ... is offering seamless, integrated solutions that comprise IDT ... The solutions provide IdentyTech,s customers with combined physical ... from crime and theft. "We are ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/24/2017)... ... January 23, 2017 , ... Edward ... first-ever recipient of the National Academy of Sciences Prize in Food and Agriculture ... nutrition. , The annual National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Prize in Food and ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... ANGELES , Jan. 23, 2017   Instrument ... Bio-Techne ( Minneapolis, MN ) the ... is the most authoritative newsletter tracking developments in ... market. "Bio-Techne consistently achieved outstanding technical, ... Tanya Samazan, Managing Editor of IBO. "In 2016, ...
(Date:1/23/2017)... YORK , Jan. 23, 2017  Spherix Incorporated ... company committed to the fostering of technology and monetization ... active patent infringement lawsuits. Anthony Hayes ... enter 2017, we will continue to communicate with shareholders ... IP and our due diligence on other patent assets ...
(Date:1/23/2017)... , ... January 23, 2017 , ... ... been appointed Vice President, Preclinical Safety and Senior Director, Safety Pharmacology. Dr. ... in India. , Dr. Thomas’ career as an academic and industry preclinical ...
Breaking Biology Technology: