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Protein anchors help keep embryonic development 'just right'
Date:6/12/2014

hat by activating a myriad of genetic on-off switches, a process that involves unwrapping and rewrapping various regions of DNA.

Histones are important to the process because they act as spools that DNA molecules wrap around to form chromosomes, making it possible for the DNA to do its work in the first place. Welte discovered that if the different histones are not in the correct proportion, the embryo has trouble developing correctly and may even die.

Achieving the correct proportion of histones is not something that happens automatically in the fruit fly embryo, as Welte found in his research. Instead, when a certain histone type is made in excess, it is redirected to the lipid-droplet holding sites outside the nucleus where it is kept until needed.

Welte and his team will try next to identify which parts of the Jabba protein actually bind with the histone. Once that's determined, scientists may have the ability to manipulate the histone storage process.

"Since histones and lipid droplets are found in humans, I very much expect that there will be a similar storage process," said Welte. "If that is the case, our findings could one day help treat or prevent diseases linked to chromosome malfunction. What I find most fascinating is that our research uncovered this intimate link between cellular fat depots and the nucleus, a connection that just a few years ago nobody would have dreamt of. "


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Contact: Peter Iglinski
peter.iglinski@rochester.edu
585-273-4726
University of Rochester
Source:Eurekalert  

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