Navigation Links
Study of how genes activate yields surprising discovery
Date:12/5/2010

December 5, 2010 ─ (BRONX, NY) ─ Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have made an unexpected finding about the method by which certain genes are activated. Contrary to what researchers have traditionally assumed, genes that work with other genes to build protein structures do not act in a coordinated way but instead are turned on randomly. The surprising discovery, described in the December 5 online edition of Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, may fundamentally change the way scientists think about the way cellular processes are synchronized.

All cells contain protein complexes that perform essential functions, such as producing energy and helping cells divide. Assembling these multi-protein structures requires many different genes, each of which codes for one of the proteins that, collectively, form what's known as the protein complex. Ribosomes, for example, are the vitally important structures on which proteins are synthesized. (The ribosomes of humans and most other organisms are composed of ribonucleic acid (RNA) and 80 different proteins.) Scientists have long assumed that genes involved in making such complex structures are activated in a highly-coordinated way.

"What we found was rather astonishing," said Robert Singer, Ph.D., professor and co-chair of anatomy and structural biology, professor of cell biology and of neuroscience at Einstein and senior author of the study. "The expression of the genes that make the protein subunits of ribosomes and other multi-protein complexes is not at all coordinated or co-regulated. In fact, such genes are so out of touch with each other that we dubbed them "clueless" genes."

Gene expression involves transcribing a gene's deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) message into molecules of messenger RNA, which migrate from the nucleus of a cell into the surrounding cytoplasm to serve as blueprints for protein construction. To assess the coordinated expression of particular genes, Dr. Singer and his colleagues measured the abundance of messenger RNA molecules transcribed by those genes in individual cells. The messenger RNA molecules made by clusters of clueless genes exhibited no more coordination than the messenger RNA from totally unrelated genes did.

The "clueless" genes coding for ribosomes and other multi-protein structures are referred to as housekeeping genes, since their essential tasks require them to be "on call" 24/7, while other gene clusters remain silent until special circumstances induce them to become active. The researchers found that these induced genes, in contrast to the "clueless" housekeeping genes, act in an expected (well-regulated) way. For example, growing yeast cells in nutrient media containing the sugar galactose triggered the highly-coordinated expression of the three genes required to metabolize galactose.

"Our findings show that for a major class of genes those housekeeping genes that make ribosomes, proteasomes and other essential structures cells employ very simple modes of gene expression that require much less coordination than previously thought," said Saumil Gandhi, the lead author of the study. "Those genes become active randomly, with each member of a functionally related gene cluster encoding a protein while having no clue what the other genes in the cluster are doing. Yet the cell somehow manages to deal with this randomness in successfully assembling these multi-protein complexes."

The paper, "Transcription of functionally related constitutive genes is not coordinated," appears in the December 5 online edition of Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kim Newman
sciencenews@einstein.yu.edu
718-430-3101
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Northern wildfires threaten runaway climate change, study reveals
2. Study reveals new possibility of reversing damage caused by MS
3. Electronic cigarettes are unsafe and pose health risks, UC Riverside study finds
4. Africa can feed itself in a generation: Study
5. New study calls for greater awareness of food supply for children with diabetes
6. Can engineered bugs help generate biofuels? Study holds promise
7. New study suggests that a propensity for 1-night stands, uncommitted sex could be genetic
8. Study shows pregnant mothers diet impacts infants sense of smell
9. Study finds low vitamin-d levels in northern California residents with metabolic syndrome
10. Study finds anti-microbials a common cause of drug-induced liver injury and failure
11. Pioneering study reveals UK biodiversity hotspot
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/23/2017)... the first robotic gym for the rehabilitation and functional motor sense evaluation ... Genoa, Italy . The first 30 robots will be available from ... . The technology was developed and patented at the IIT laboratories ... Technology thanks to a 10 million euro investment from entrepreneur Sergio Dompè. ... ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... SINGAPORE , May 5, 2017 ... has just announced a new breakthrough in biometric ... that exploits quantum mechanical properties to perform ... new smart semiconductor material created by Ram Group ... across finance, entertainment, transportation, supply chains and security. ...
(Date:4/18/2017)...  Socionext Inc., a global expert in SoC-based imaging and computing ... M820, which features the company,s hybrid codec technology. A demonstration utilizing ... Inc., will be showcased during the upcoming Medtec Japan at Tokyo ... Las Vegas Convention Center April 24-27. ... Click here for an image ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... AMRI, ... and biotechnology industries to improve patient outcomes and quality of life, will now ... testing are being attributed to new regulatory requirements for all new drug products, ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical Device Summit is back ... 8th June 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings together current and former ... CEOs, board directors and government officials from around the world to address key issues ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... A new ... rates in frozen and fresh in vitro fertilization (IVF) transfer cycles. ... to IVF success. , After comparing the results from the fresh and frozen ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... Dr. Bob Harman, founder ... local San Diego Rotary Club. The event entitled “Stem Cells and ... had 300+ attendees. Dr. Harman, DVM, MPVM was joined by two human doctors: ...
Breaking Biology Technology: