Navigation Links
Mechanical forces could affect gene expression
Date:2/2/2010

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---University of Michigan researchers have shown that tension on DNA molecules can affect gene expression---the process at the heart of biological function that tells a cell what to do.

Scientists understand the chemistry involved in gene expression, but they know little about the physics. The U-M group is believed to be the first to actually demonstrate a mechanical effect at work in this process. Their paper is published in the current edition of Physical Review Letters.

"We have shown that small forces can control the machinery that turns genes on and off. There's more to gene regulation than biochemistry. We have to look at mechanics too," said Jens-Christian Meiners, associate professor in the Department of Physics and director of the biophysics program.

A better understanding of how cells regulate themselves could lead to new insights into how the process could fail and lead to disease.

"When cells start to misinterpret regulatory signals, cardiac disease, birth defects, and cancer can result. In fact, mechanical signals have been implicated as a culprit in a variety of pathologies," said Joshua Milstein, a research fellow in the Department of Physics.

To perform their experiment, the scientists used custom "optical tweezers," or lasers, to pull on the ends of bacterial DNA strands with 200 femtonewtons of force, said Yih-Fan Chen, a doctoral student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Chen designed and built the tweezers.

The force they used corresponds roughly to the weight of one-billionth of a grain of rice.

In segments of DNA that were tethered to a microscope slide, the scientists observed a 10-fold decrease in the rate at which the strands looped in on themselves.

DNA looping prevents genes within the loops from being expressed. A common mechanism for gene regulation, it also occurs in complex organisms including humans. Specialized proteins act as buckles to connect distant points on the DNA to form the loops. That's the chemistry part. The challenge for physics is to understand how the DNA bends so those distant points can come together.

While this experiment was performed on free DNA, the scientists say forces as much as 100 times stronger are regularly created inside cells as contents shift and buffet each other.

"If we can basically shut this process down with the tiniest force, how could all these larger forces not have an impact on gene expression?" Milstein said.

Meiners and his team are striving for a quantitative understanding of this biological process. He likens the current state of our understanding of gene expression to a diagram. He is searching for equations, and these results begin to provide that.

"We can tell you how long you'll have to wait for a DNA loop to form based on how much force you apply to the DNA," Meiners said. "We're one step closer to understanding cells quantitatively."


'/>"/>

Contact: Nicole Casal Moore
ncmoore@umich.edu
734-647-1838
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Mechanical ventilation for patients with lung damage dont always work as planned
2. Improved robotic hand captures mechanical engineering top award
3. Data Show Long-Term Mechanical Integrity of MitraClip(R) and Complete Healing Following Implantation of the Device for Mitral Valve Repair
4. Reportlinker Adds Mechanical Ventilators Report
5. Pharmacomechanical Thrombectomy Procedure Adoption to Accelerate Due to More Aggressive Treatment of Deep Vein Thrombosis, According to Millennium Research Group
6. First heart patients implanted with next-generation mechanical heart pump
7. ATS Medical Announces Regulatory Approval of the ATS Open Pivot AP360 Mechanical Heart Valve in Japan
8. Physical therapists test mechanical arm to help patients recover from stroke, traumatic brain injury
9. FDA approves HeartMate II mechanical heart pump for heart-failure patients
10. New research for mechanical support devices in pediatrics to be released at ISHLT
11. ATS Medical Receives FDA Approval for AP360 Mechanical Heart Valve
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June ... a Bronze Wellness at Work award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments ... of the 7th annual Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Marne, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... awareness about the dangers associated with chronic pain and the benefits of holistic treatments, ... for individuals who are suffering with Sickle Cell Disease. , Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Dr. Amanda ... orthodontic treatment. Dr. Cheng has extensive experience with all areas of orthodontics, including ... accelerated osteogenic orthodontics. , Micro-osteoperforation is a revolutionary adjunct to orthodontic treatment. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... EB ... Decision Making in Emergency Medicine conference in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. The awards ... in Emergency Medicine Practice and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Practice. , “With ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... National recruitment firm Slone Partners is pleased to announce ... experience, as Vice President of North American Capital Sales at HTG Molecular . ... sales team in the commercialization of the HTG EdgeSeq system and associated reagents in ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... NAMUR , Belgium , ...  (NYSE MKT: VNRX), today announced the appointment of ... Board of Directors as a Non-Executive Director, effective ... the Company,s Audit, Compensation and Nominations and Governance ... Board, Dr. Futcher will provide independent expertise and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Any dentist who has made an implant ... process. Many of them do not even offer this as ... high laboratory costs involved. And those who ARE able to ... a high cost that the majority of today,s patients would ... Parsa Zadeh , founder of Dental Evolutions Inc. and inventor ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... DUBLIN , June 23, 2016 ... "Global MEMS Devices Medical Market Analysis 2016 - Forecast to ... The report contains up to date financial ... reliable analysis. Assessment of major trends with potential impact on ... dive analysis of market segmentation which comprises of sub markets, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: