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:4/13/2017)... April 13, 2017 UBM,s Advanced Design and ... will feature emerging and evolving technology through its 3D ... will run alongside the expo portion of the event ... and demonstrations focused on trending topics within 3D printing ... and manufacturing event will take place June 13-15, 2017 at ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, a globally-recognized leader ... today announced that it has been awarded a ... Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation Presentation Attack Detection ... "Innovation has been a driving force within Crossmatch ... allow us to innovate and develop new technologies ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 No two people are ... the New York University Tandon School of Engineering ... found that partial similarities between prints are common ... mobile phones and other electronic devices can be ... vulnerability lies in the fact that fingerprint-based authentication ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/15/2017)... 2017 After spending the past two years building a ... collection, GeneFo now offers this platform to healthcare stakeholders (hospitals, foundations, ... adherence, and data collection vis a vis their members, under their ... launch of this offer. ... ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... ... August 15, 2017 , ... Kenall, a leader ... designed to stay tightly sealed and perform efficiently for years. The downlights are ... listings just aren't enough, such as: hospitals; behavioral health facilities; cleanrooms; containment areas; ...
(Date:8/14/2017)... ... 14, 2017 , ... Opal Kelly, a leading producer of ... announced the release of SYZYGY™, a new open standard for connecting high-performance peripherals ... compact, low cost, low pin-count, high-performance connectivity solution between FPGAs and single-purpose hardware ...
(Date:8/11/2017)... ... 2017 , ... “There is an increasing consumer call for ... ingredients,” said Matt Hundt, President of Third Wave Bioactives. “Combining the strong discovery ... of Biorigin will allow us to bring truly novel fermented ingredient technologies to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: