Navigation Links
Do 68 molecules hold the key to understanding disease?
Date:9/4/2008

Why is it that the origins of many serious diseases remain a mystery? In considering that question, a scientist at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine has come up with a unified molecular view of the indivisible unit of life, the cell, which may provide an answer.

Reviewing findings from multiple disciplines, Jamey Marth, Ph.D., UC San Diego Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, realized that only 68 molecular building blocks are used to construct these four fundamental components of cells: the nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), proteins, glycans and lipids. His work, which illustrates the primary composition of all cells, is published in the September issue of Nature Cell Biology.

Like the periodic table of elements, first published in 1869 by Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev, is to chemistry, Marth's visual metaphor offers a new framework for biologists.

This new illustration defines the basic molecular building blocks of life and currently includes 32 glycans (sugar linkages found throughout the cell) and eight kinds of lipids (which compose cell membranes) along with the more well-known 20 amino acids that are used to make proteins and the eight nucleosides that compose the nucleic acids, DNA and RNA.

"These 68 building blocks provide the structural basis for the molecular choreography that constitutes the entire life of a cell," said Marth. "And two of the four cellular components are produced by these molecular building blocks in processes that cannot be encoded by the genes. These cellular components the glycans and lipids may now hold the keys to uncovering the origins of many grievous diseases that continue to evade understanding."

Currently, the vast majority of medical research looks to the human genome and proteome for answers, but those answers remain elusive, and perhaps for good reason.

"We have now found instances where the pathogenesis of widespread and chronic diseases can be attributed to a change in the glycome, for example, in the absence of definable changes in the genome or proteome," Marth said, adding that, as biomedical researchers, "we need to begin to cultivate the integration of disciplines in a holistic and rigorous way in order to perceive and most effectively manipulate the biological mechanisms of health and disease."

"What is important is that no one has composed it and laid it out so clearly before," said Ajit Varki, M.D., Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine and founder and co-director of the Glycobiology Research and Training Center at UC San Diego School of Medicine, and chief editor of the major textbook in the field, The Essentials of Glycobiology. "Glycobiology, for example, is a relatively new field of study in which researchers at UC San Diego have much expertise, and Dr. Marth's work further illustrates the importance of these glycan molecules."

Marth believes that biology should become more integrative both in academic and research settings. "I'm one who believes that we don't need to sacrifice breadth of knowledge in order to acquire depth of understanding."


'/>"/>

Contact: Debra Kain
ddkain@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Clemson scientists shed light on molecules in living cells
2. New molecules discovered that block cancer cells from modifying cell DNA
3. Curry-derived molecules might be too spicy for colorectal cancers
4. New book presents methods to poke and prod individual molecules
5. Liquid crystal phases of tiny DNA molecules point up new scenario for first life on Earth
6. Synthetic molecules may be less expensive alternative to therapeutic antibodies, researchers find
7. Fast AFM probes measure multiple properties of biomolecules or materials simultaneously
8. Two suppressor molecules affect 70 genes in leukemia
9. Argonne scientists use lasers to align molecules
10. Researchers observe spontaneous ratcheting of single ribosome molecules
11. Nanoglassblowing seen as boon to study of individual molecules
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Do 68 molecules hold the key to understanding disease?
(Date:3/18/2016)... LONDON , March 18, 2016 ... Established Suppliers of Biometrics, ICT, Manned & Unmanned Vehicles, Physical ... & security companies in the border security market and ... and Europe has led ... your companies improved success. --> defence & ...
(Date:3/14/2016)... HANOVER , Allemagne, March 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... http://www.apimages.com ) - --> - ... ) - --> ... les solutions biométriques, fournit de nouveaux lecteurs d,empreintes ... lecteur LF10 de DERMALOG sera utilisé pour produire ...
(Date:3/9/2016)... , March 9, 2016 This BCC Research ... states of the RNA Sequencing (RNA Seq) market for ... as instruments, tools and reagents, data analysis, and services. ... segments of the RNA-Sequencing market such as RNA-Sequencing tools ... the main factors affecting each segment and forecast their ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... The ... announce the appointment of John Tilton as Chief Commercial Officer.  Mr. Tilton joined ... of the founding commercial leaders responsible for the commercialization of multiple orphan drug ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... ... Global Stem Cells Group CEO Benito Novas announced that Duncan Ross, Ph.D. ... Labs in Miami. , In 2004, Ross received his Ph.D. in Immunology from the ... the suppression of graft vs. host disease (GVHD) under UM Professor Robert Levy Ph.D. ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... Cameron Cushman ... an associate in the firm’s Intellectual Property practice group. , Clients turn to ... applications. He has an electrical engineering and computer engineering background, and experience in ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Mr. Palmer created the RPO business for Ceridian and lead ... managed services contract in the U.S. intelligence community with The SI (a Lockheed Martin ... Younger, founder of Accolo. “We are growing and his experience guiding our expansion ...
Breaking Biology Technology: