Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fleshing Out The Genome

Date:
February 6, 2005
Source:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Summary:
Genomics, the study of all the genetic sequences in living organisms, has leaned heavily on the blueprint metaphor. A large part of the blueprint, unfortunately, has been unintelligible, with no good way to distinguish a bathroom from a boardroom, to link genomic features to cell function.

SEATTLE – Genomics, the study of all the genetic sequences in living organisms, has leaned heavily on the blueprint metaphor. A large part of the blueprint, unfortunately, has been unintelligible, with no good way to distinguish a bathroom from a boardroom, to link genomic features to cell function.

A national consortium of scientists led by BIATECH, a Seattle-area non-profit research center, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a Department of Energy research institution in Richland, Wash., now suggests a way to put this house in order. They offer a powerful new method that integrates experimental and computational analyses to ascribe function to genes that had been termed "hypothetical" – sequences that appear in the genome but whose biological purposes were previously unknown.

The method not only portends a way to fill in the blanks in any organism's genome but also to compare the genomes of different organisms and their evolutionary relation to one another.

The new tools and approaches offer the most-comprehensive-to-date "functional annotation," a way of assigning the mystery sequences biological function and ranking them based on their similarity to genes known to encode proteins. Proteins are the workhorses of the cell, playing a role in everything from energy transport and metabolism to cellular communication.

This new ability to rank hypothetical sequences according to their likelihood to encode proteins "will be vital for any further experimentation and, eventually, for predicting biological function," said Eugene Kolker, president and director of BIATECH, an affiliate scientist at PNNL and lead author of a study in the Feb. 8 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that applies the new annotation method to a strain of the metal-detoxifying bacterium Shewanella oneidensis.

"In a lot of cases," said James K. Fredrickson, a co-author and PNNL chief scientist, "it was not known from the gene sequence if a protein was even expressed. Now that we have high confidence that many of these hypothetical genes are expressing proteins, we can look for what role these proteins play."

Before this study, nearly 40 percent of the genetic sequences in Shewanella oneidensis—of key interest to DOE for its potential in nuclear and heavy metal waste remediation—were considered as hypothetical. This work identified 538 of these genes that expressed functional proteins and messenger RNA, accounting for a third of the hypothetical genes. They enlisted analytic software to scour public databases and applied expression data to improve gene annotation, identifying similarities to known proteins for 97 percent of these hypothetical proteins. All told, computational and experimental evidence provided functional information for 256 more genes, or 48 percent, but they could confidently assign exact biochemical functions for only 16 proteins, or 3 percent. Finally, they introduced a seven-category system for annotating genomic proteins, ranked according to a functional assignment's precision and confidence.

Kolker said that "a big part of this was the proteomics" – a systematic screening and identification of proteins, in this case those which were expressed in the microbe when subjected to stress. The proteomic analyses were done by four teams led by Kolker; Carol S. Giometti, Argonne National Laboratory; John R. Yates III, The Scripps Research Institute; and Richard D. Smith, W.R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, based at PNNL. BIATECH's analysis of this data included dealing with more than 2 million files.

Fredrickson coordinates a consortium known as the Shewanella Federation. In addition to BIATECH, PNNL and ANL, the Federation also includes teams led by study co-authors James M. Tiedje, Michigan State University; Kenneth H. Nealson, University of Southern California; and Monica Riley, Marine Biology Laboratory. The Federation is supported by the Genomics: GTL Program of the DOE's Offices of Biological and Environmental Research and Advanced Scientific Computer Research. Other collaborators included the National Center for Biotechnology Information of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Wadsworth Center.

BIATECH is an independent nonprofit biomedical research center located in Bothell, Wash. Its mission is to discover and model the molecular mechanisms of biological processes using cutting edge high-throughput technologies and computational analyses that will both improve human health and the environment. Its research focuses on applying integrative interdisciplinary approaches to the study of model microorganisms, and advancing our knowledge of their cellular behavior.

PNNL (http://www.pnl.gov ) is a DOE Office of Science laboratory that solves complex problems in energy, national security, the environment and life sciences by advancing the understanding of physics, chemistry, biology and computation. PNNL employs 3,900, has a $650 million annual budget and has been managed by Ohio-based Battelle since the lab's inception in 1965.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "Fleshing Out The Genome." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 February 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050204212048.htm>.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. (2005, February 6). Fleshing Out The Genome. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050204212048.htm
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "Fleshing Out The Genome." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050204212048.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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