Navigation Links
Scientists discover how 'jumping genes' help black truffles adapt to their environment

Black truffles, also known as Prigord truffles, grow in symbiosis with the roots of oak and hazelnut trees. In the world of haute cuisine, they are expensive and highly prized.

In the world of epigenetics, however, the fungi (Tuber melanosporum) are of major interest for another reason: their unique pattern of DNA methylation, a biochemical process that chemically modifies nucleic acids without changing their sequence. Epigenetics is the study of changes in gene expression caused by mechanisms other than changes in the DNA sequence.

A newly published study in the journal Genome Biology by scientists from UCLA and colleagues in Italy, France and Taiwan reports on the truffle's unique genetic makeup.

"The fungi have a complex genome, with a preponderance of repetitive and mobile elements," said Simone Ottonello of the laboratory of functional genomics and protein engineering at the University of Parma in Italy. "The genome resembles the composition of the human genome, which also uses reversible methylation and other mechanisms to deal with repeated and mobile elements."

More than 58 percent of Tuber melanosporum's genetic material is made up of so-called "jumping genes," transposable genetic elements, or transposons, that can replicate and paste themselves throughout the genome. The research illustrates how the truffle regulates those elements.

"We found that DNA methylation is targeted to those transposable elements, but it also can affect the expression of adjacent genes and the number of transposons that are copied," said Matteo Pellegrini, a professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology in the UCLA College, and the paper's senior author.

The black truffle uses reversible epigenetic processes to regulate its genes and adapt to changes in its surroundings. Although this process was known to occur in other plants and animals, this was the first research to establish that it occurs in fungi.

Pellegrini said the new findings could shed light on how the reversible methylation helps the truffle adapt to its surroundings. "Because the truffle lives underground and doesn't have an active spore dispersal system, it might need this plasticity to adapt to sudden environmental changes."


Contact: Stuart Wolpert
University of California - Los Angeles

Related biology news :

1. NOAA, EPA-supported scientists find average but large Gulf dead zone
2. Scientists name new species of cetacean: The Australian humpback dolphin
3. Scripps Research Institute scientists find new calorie-burning switch in brown fat
4. Scientists warn time to stop drilling in the dark
5. Scientists find growing consensus: Political attitudes derive from body and mind
6. Scientists shine bright new light on how living things capture energy from the sun
7. Scientists discover biochemical mechanisms contributing to fibromuscular dysplasia
8. Conservation scientists asking wrong questions on climate change impacts on wildlife
9. Scientists reproduce evolutionary changes by manipulating embryonic development of mice
10. 23andMe scientists receive approximately $1.4 million in funding from National Institutes of Health
11. Scientists discover genetic switch that can prevent peripheral vascular disease in mice
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Scientists discover how 'jumping genes' help black truffles adapt to their environment
(Date:11/12/2015)... 12, 2015  A golden retriever that stayed healthy ... (DMD) has provided a new lead for treating this ... Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the University ... Cell, pinpoints a protective gene ... disease,s effects. The Boston Children,s lab of Lou ...
(Date:11/11/2015)... MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical technology company that ... announce that it will be a Sponsor of the ... held November 17-19 in Hamburg , Germany.  ... iMedNet , MedNet,s easy-to-use, proven and affordable eClinical ... able to deliver time and cost savings of up to ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... DUBLIN , Nov. 09, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the "Global ... to their offering. --> ... "Global Law Enforcement Biometrics Market 2015-2019" ... Research and Markets ( ) ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... CHESHAM , England , November 26, ... Lightpoint Medical, an innovative medical device company specializing in ... Euro grant from the European Commission as part of the ... enabling the company to carry out a large-scale clinical trial ... -->      (Logo: , ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... -- PharmAthene, Inc. (NYSE MKT: PIP) announced  today that its ... (Rights Plan) in an effort to preserve the value ... 382 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code). ... its NOLs could be substantially limited if the Company ... of the Code. In general, an ownership change occurs ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Studies reveal the differences in species of ... way for more effective treatment for one of the most ... --> --> Gum disease is ... yet relatively little was understood about the bacteria associated with ... by researchers from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition together ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015  Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: NBIX ) ... CEO of Neurocrine Biosciences, will be presenting at the ... New York . .   ... 5 minutes prior to the presentation to download or ... will be available on the website approximately one hour ...
Breaking Biology Technology: