Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Robots Eavesdrop On Cellular Discussions

Date:
February 10, 2000
Source:
NIH-National Institute Of General Medical Sciences
Summary:
Using robots to monitor the goings-on of thousands of individual baker's yeast cells growing on a small plastic grid, scientists supported by the National Institutes of Health, in collaboration with CuraGen Corporation of New Haven, Connecticut, have accomplished a biological milestone in determining which molecules in a cell "talk" to others by making physical contact.

For the first time, scientists have figured out a way to record the "conversations" taking place simultaneously between thousands of molecules inside a single cell.

Related Articles


Using robots to monitor the goings-on of thousands of individual baker's yeast cells growing on a small plastic grid, scientists supported by the National Institutes of Health, in collaboration with CuraGen Corporation of New Haven, Connecticut, have accomplished a biological milestone in determining which molecules in a cell "talk" to others by making physical contact.

Without an automated approach, the job of looking -- one by one -- for all the physical contacts among the protein products of the thousands of genes in a yeast cell would be a painstakingly slow process.

Even though the researchers detected only a fraction -- roughly a thousand -- of such physical contacts, the impact of the new approach is expected to be significant.

"Scientists all over the world working in yeast will be able to use this information," said Dr. Stanley Fields of the University of Washington, one of the paper's senior authors. The work appears in the February 10 issue of Nature, and is featured on the cover of the journal.

Baker's yeast -- known to researchers as Saccharomyces cerevisiae -- is a laboratory darling to thousands of scientists who probe mysteries of biology, a large number of which are germane to understanding human health and disease. Though primitive, yeast cells share an extraordinary number of important similarities with more highly evolved species, including humans.

"Listening in" on which proteins physically talk to other proteins is a critical task for researchers, since all cells rely on extensive and ongoing molecular discussions to carry out life's functions -- everything from breathing to memory.

Other scientists have developed powerful approaches to determine which of the thousands of genes are "turned on" in a particular cell, but they haven't had a "guide book" to tell them which gene products likely touch each other.

"Now they have one," said Dr. James Anderson, a molecular biologist at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, one of the NIH components that funded the study. "Dr. Fields' work adds an essential piece to the puzzle posed by genetic information that appears to be an enormous jumble of letters and words," he added.

Imagine, for instance, visiting a library full of books that you couldn't read. In a sense, this is the scientific dilemma facing biologists across the globe. Researchers have in hand boatloads of genetic information--billions of DNA letters that spell out the instructions for life in organisms as diverse as yeast, worms, flies, and humans. The problem is that, to a great degree, no one knows what all these genes do. And even in the cases where scientists do know, even more puzzling is how cell parts communicate with each other, often through physical contact.

Dr. Fields' team and their CuraGen colleagues accomplished the work by automating state-of-the-art, but commonly used, molecular biological techniques. The researchers used two separate approaches to attack the problem. Each was an automated strategy in which a test cell only survives if it contains proteins that touch each other.

According to Dr. Fields, the key element underpinning their current research tour de force was the availability of the entire DNA sequence of the genome of baker's yeast and the ability to recognize the genes. When the complete sequence of the human genome is available to researchers in the next couple of years, Dr. Fields predicts, a similar strategy will be possible using human cells.

"It's just a matter of scaling up," he said.

In addition to NIGMS, NIH's National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) also provided funding for the work, along with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Merck Genome Research Institute.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH-National Institute Of General Medical Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NIH-National Institute Of General Medical Sciences. "Robots Eavesdrop On Cellular Discussions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 February 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/02/000210071438.htm>.
NIH-National Institute Of General Medical Sciences. (2000, February 10). Robots Eavesdrop On Cellular Discussions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/02/000210071438.htm
NIH-National Institute Of General Medical Sciences. "Robots Eavesdrop On Cellular Discussions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/02/000210071438.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) — The Solitair device aims to take the confusion out of how much sunlight we should expose our skin to. Small enough to be worn as a tie or hair clip, it monitors the user&apos;s sun exposure by taking into account their skin pigment, location and schedule. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2015) — Denisa Livingston, a health advocate for the Dinι Community Advocacy Alliance, and the Post&apos;s Abby Phillip discuss efforts around the country to make unhealthy food choices hurt your wallet as much as your waistline. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The $12.8 billion merger will combine the U.S.&apos; third and fourth largest pharmacy benefit managers. Analysts say smaller PBMs could also merge. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins