Navigation Links
NIH backs Rice University study of delay in gene transcription networks
Date:8/14/2012

A Rice University researcher and his colleagues have received a National Institutes of Health grant to see how delays in gene transcription life's most basic messaging system affect cellular processes.

Matthew Bennett, an assistant professor of biochemistry and cell biology, will receive more than a million dollars over five years to gather and combine data from computer simulations and live cells. The goal is to create techniques to generate and analyze models of gene networks that incorporate delay as part of their process.

"Delay in transcriptional signaling is an unavoidable consequence of the way biochemistry works," said Bennett, a theoretical physicist by training who turned to synthetic biology as a postdoctoral researcher before joining Rice in 2009. "Once a gene is activated, often as a response to a molecule being introduced into the cell, it takes time for the results to come to fruition. Eventually the DNA must be transcribed into RNA, and the RNA must be translated into protein. Then, sometimes, the protein has to be modified or has to fold."

Bennett and his team want to know precisely what happens and why in that cascade of events, which can take minutes. "We want to be able to create accurate mathematical models of gene networks in order to predict how they function and how they fail, so we can design new synthetic networks and know what they're going to do before we build them," he said.

Synthetic biology has become an increasingly hot topic as researchers create biological systems not found in nature. (A leader in the field, J. Craig Venter, will speak at Rice on Oct. 10 as part of the university's Centennial Celebration.)

Bennett sees the process as similar to sophisticated electronic design, in which the genetic equivalent of logic gates can be used to program circuit-like behavior in living things. The resulting genomes can be used in cells for information processing, materials fabrication, chemical sensing, the production of energy and even food.

"We've learned that delays can have a significant impact on the function of genetic networks, and the discoveries have changed our fundamental understanding of how genes talk to one another," Bennett said. "There are many processes in cells that require specific timing in order to operate: Stress responses, circadian oscillations, cellular growth and division. We've found the dynamics of these networks are important to their function, and delay can have a profound effect. Understanding that delay and being able to model is critical for accurate computational simulations."

While simple models are able to help build simple cellular "circuits," Bennett felt a more sophisticated model will expand the possibilities for synthetic biology and lower the cost of engineering new synthetic microbes.

Much of the modeling will take place at the University of Houston, where co-investigators Kreimir Josić is an associate professor and William Ott an assistant professor of mathematics, while the synthesis of gene networks in bacteria will happen at Bennett's Rice lab.

Bennett also noted the new work will call for an interdisciplinary approach, drawing upon expertise from microfluidic engineers and theoretical biologists. In the big picture, he hopes better computational models enhance understanding of living systems.


'/>"/>

Contact: David Ruth
david@rice.edu
713-348-6327
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New forensic institute at the University of Leicester will help police forces solve unusual crimes
2. University of Tennessee professor releases weight management product
3. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev receives $450,000 grant to conduct oil and natural gas research
4. Queens University Belfast makes significant cancer breakthrough
5. BGI partners with the University of Birmingham
6. University of Illinois professor develops tool that helps dietitians deliver info clients need and can understand
7. University of Leeds and Chinese Academy of Sciences join forces
8. NASA and university researchers find a clue to how life turned left
9. University of Texas Medical Branch selected to manage Center for Polar Medical Operations
10. University of Albertas designer compounds inhibit prion infection
11. University of Tennessee Space Institute researchers develop laser technology to fight cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/5/2017)... 2017 Today HYPR Corp. , leading ... component of the HYPR platform is officially FIDO® ... security architecture that empowers biometric authentication across Fortune 500 ... secured over 15 million users across the financial services ... home product suites and physical access represent a growing ...
(Date:4/3/2017)...  Data captured by IsoCode, IsoPlexis Corporation,s ... statistically significant association between the potency of ... objective response of cancer patients post-treatment. The ... cancer patients will respond to CAR-T cell ... to improve both pre-infusion potency testing and cell ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... March 30, 2017 Trends, opportunities and forecast ... behavioral), by technology (fingerprint, AFIS, iris recognition, facial recognition, ... others), by end use industry (government and law enforcement, ... and banking, and others), and by region ( ... Asia Pacific , and the Rest ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/15/2017)... , ... August 15, 2017 , ... ... shopping cart. Now mobile responsive, the new website makes it easy to navigate ... in between. Users can now find detailed product information, educational industry content and ...
(Date:8/11/2017)... 2017  Market researcher Kalorama Information was ... regarding the telemedicine market.  The telemedicine market ...  The article, "Heart and Asthma Monitors? ... information from Kalorama Information,s Remote Patient Monitoring ...  (Sleep, Diabetes, Vital Signs /EKG and ...
(Date:8/10/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... August 09, 2017 , ... ... to help the agriculture industry reach its ideal customers with the right message. ... nation. , “As a Midwest company, we realize how crucial the agriculture industry ...
(Date:8/10/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... August 09, 2017 , ... Okyanos Center ... take place at the Pelican Bay Hotel in Freeport, Grand Bahama on September 27, ... is required. , With oversight from the Ministry of Health’s National Stem Cell ...
Breaking Biology Technology: