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Measuring the number of protein molecules inside cells
Date:7/18/2014

This news release is available in Portuguese.

This news release is available in Portuguese.

The identification of the genes and proteins involved in a biological process, as well as the way they interact, are essential for the understanding of that process. However, often little is known about the dimensions of molecular biological structures. Knowing how many molecules make up a structure and are required for its function are essential for our understanding of biological mechanisms. Yet, quantifying molecules of infinitesimal size poses a difficult challenge. Now, in a breakthrough study, Lars Jansen and his team from Instituto Gulbenkian de Cincia (IGC, Portugal) were able to measure the amount of protein molecules in living human cells required to form an important structure of the chromosome, the centromere. This study, published this week in the open access scientific journal eLife*, presents new methodologies that may also be used to unveil other biological problems.

Centromeres are protein structures present at chromosomes. These structures recruit the necessary molecular machinery that drives the segregation of chromosomes into the daughter cells, a process essential for cell division. If the location of centromeres is changed or if the proteins that compose these structures are impaired, abnormal cell divisions may arise. Lars Jansen's laboratory, together with other research groups, have identified the components of centromeres and found one protein, called CENP
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Contact: Ana Mena
anamena@igc.gulbenkian.pt
351-214-407-959
Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia
Source:Eurekalert  

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