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:4/26/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the ...  report to their offering.  , ,     (Logo: ... forecast the global multimodal biometrics market to grow ... 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics is being implemented ... healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and government for controlling ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... 14, 2016 BioCatch ™, ... today announced the appointment of Eyal Goldwerger ... Goldwerger,s leadership appointment comes at a time ... the deployment of its platform at several of the ... which discerns unique cognitive and physiological factors, is a ...
(Date:3/29/2016)... Florida , March 29, 2016 ... the "Company") LegacyXChange "LEGX" and SelectaDNA/CSI Protect are pleased ... in ink used in a variety of writing instruments, ... Buyers of originally created collectibles from athletes on LegacyXChange ... forensic analysis of the DNA. Bill ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... Mich. , May 26, 2016  Agriculture nutrients ... Des Moines, Iowa is running their ... Lake Erie and coastal regions ... key to preventing this widespread issue. NECi ... Upper Peninsula, developed a new, easy to ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... , May 26, 2016 Q BioMed ... it will be a featured presenter at the 5th Annual ... New York City at the Grand Hyatt ... , Q BioMed Inc. CEO, is scheduled to begin at ... the company,s business strategy, recent developments and outline milestones for ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... May 26, 2016 , ... After several ... Inc. at the City of Knowledge in Panama, a 6 year-old Duchenne’s ... the US earlier this year following FDA approval of a second application for ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... 26, 2016 , ... FireflySci has been manufacturing quartz and ... over the globe. Their cute firefly logo has been spreading to more and ... spectrophotometer calibration standards that never require recalibration. These revolutionary standards have changed ...
Breaking Biology Technology: