Navigation Links
Einstein researchers take the pulse of a gene in living cells

Scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have observed for the first time that gene expression can occur in the form of discrete "pulses" of gene activity. The researchers used pioneering microscopy techniques, developed by Dr. Robert Singer and colleagues at Einstein, that for the first time allow scientists to directly watch the behavior of a single gene in real time. Their findings appeared in the current issue of Current Biology.

When a gene is expressed or "turned on," genetic information is transferred from DNA into RNA. This process, known as transcription, is crucial for translating the gene's message into a functional protein. Diseases such as cancer can result when genes turn on at the improper time or in the wrong part of the body.

Researchers customarily use microarrays (also known as "gene chips") to assess gene expression in tumors and other tissues. But with millions of cells involved, microarrays reflect only "average" gene expression. Just how a gene is transcribed in a single cell--continuously, intermittently or some other way--has largely been a mystery.

Now, in observing a gene that plays a major role in how an organism develops, the Einstein researchers observed a phenomenon that until now has been indirectly observed and only in bacteria: pulses of transcription that turn on and off at irregular intervals. Dr. Singer and his co-workers used a fluorescent marker that sticks to the gene only when it is active. Under a microscope, this fluorescent marker appears when the gene turns on, then disappears (gene "off") and then appears again (gene "on").

The focus of the study was a gene important in the life cycle of the social amoeba Dictyostelium, thousands of which sometimes aggregate into a single slug-like mass. This developmental gene plays a major role in transforming the "slug" into a stalk-like structure called a fruiting body, which releases new amoebae.

"The pulsin g we observed in this gene would allow it to very precisely regulate development," says Dr. Singer, the study's senior author and professor and co-chair of the Department of Anatomy & Structural Biology at Einstein. He likens a gene to a thermostat:

"Heating a home all the time would be wasteful and would overheat the house," he says. "The solution is a thermostat, which injects a little bit of heat when needed and then turns off. Similarly, a cell needs the gene to be turned on--but too much activity at the wrong time can be a problem, so the solution is to have small bursts of activity."

Still to be discovered, says Dr. Singer, is how the pulsing mechanism itself is controlled. In addition, these findings pertain to developmental genes, which are turned on selectively and only in certain tissues. "Other genes--so-called constitutive genes--are regularly expressed by all the cells of an organism," Dr. Singer notes. "We'd like to find out whether these genes pulse as well."

Also involved in this study were Jonathan R. Chubb (now at University of Dundee in the U.K.), Tatjana Trcek and Shailesh M. Shenoy.


'"/>

Source:Albert Einstein College of Medicine


Related biology news :

1. Einstein researchers identify new way that bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics
2. Einstein scientists discover how protein crucial for motion is synthesised at the right place in the cell
3. Study by Einstein researchers could lead to a novel strategy for treating obesity
4. Einstein researchers demonstrate a novel approach to treating AIDS
5. Einsteins tea leaves inspire new blood separation technique
6. NYU researchers simulate molecular biological clock
7. Vital step in cellular migration described by UCSD medical researchers
8. ASU researchers finds novel chemistry at work to provide parrots vibrant red colors
9. UCSD researchers maintain stem cells without contaminated animal feeder layers
10. Why do insects stop breathing? To avoid damage from too much oxygen, say researchers
11. New protein discovered by Hebrew University researchers
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:1/25/2016)... 2016   Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS ) today ... (JFK) International Airport, New York City , to ... attempting to enter the United States using ... pilot testing of the system at Dulles last year. ... JFK during January 2016. --> pilot testing of ...
(Date:1/22/2016)... 22, 2016 ... the "Global Biometrics Market in Retail ... --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/p74whf/global_biometrics ) has ... Biometrics Market in Retail Sector 2016-2020" ... Research and Markets ( http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/p74whf/global_biometrics ) ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... MINNETONKA, Minn. , Jan. 20, 2016   ... that supports the entire spectrum of clinical research, is ... in 2015. MedNet,s significant achievements are the result of ... of) iMedNet eClinical , it,s comprehensive, ... --> --> Key MedNet growth ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/4/2016)... - New FDA action date of July ... action date of July 22, 2016   --> ... 22, 2016   - Lifitegrast has the ... for the treatment of signs and symptoms of dry eye disease ... to be the only product approved in the U.S. in the past decade indicated for ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... ... February 04, 2016 , ... ... takes place February 5-6 at the University’s student center, Kehr Union, located ... as workshops and competitions for ample networking, learning and collaborating opportunities. , ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... MENLO PARK, Calif. , Feb. 4, 2016   ... a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of ... the 18 th Annual BIO CEO & Investor ... EST in New York, NY . ... provide an update on the ongoing clinical trial of ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... 2016  Spherix Incorporated (Nasdaq: SPEX ) -- an intellectual ... of intellectual property, today provided an update on the ... District of Texas and announcing ... Inter Partes Re-examination ("IPR") proceedings that VTech and ... was initiated on only certain claims of two of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: