Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Weizmann Institute Scientists Discover How Substitutions Are Made For Injured Genes

Date:
March 17, 2005
Source:
Weizmann Institute
Summary:
If there were no bench for second-string players on a football team, who would substitute for tired or injured team members? A team of Weizmann Institute scientists has found that, if the team were made up of genes, they might pull athletes who can play a little football in a pinch from nearby basketball or rugby teams.

If there were no bench for second-string players on a football team, who would substitute for tired or injured team members? A team of Weizmann Institute scientists has found that, if the team were made up of genes, they might pull athletes who can play a little football in a pinch from nearby basketball or rugby teams. Their findings were published in the March issue of Nature Genetics.

Dr. Yitzhak (Tzachi) Pilpel and graduate students Ran Kafri and Arren Bar-Even, of the Institute's Molecular Genetics Department, knew from previous studies that up to 80% of the genes in yeast, a common model for genetics research, have potential stand-ins in various spots around the genome. Though not identical to the original gene, they make a protein that is sufficiently similar to the one it produces to pass muster. Many scientists believed that both genetic substitutes and the main gene were expressed simultaneously so as to supply the organism with needed quantities of proteins. But Pilpel and his team showed that, in fact, when the original gene is up and running, the others are off playing at their own sports. Only when that gene is damaged or deleted, do the substitutes get called onto the "football field," where they play as they can.

They reached this conclusion after analyzing data from some 40 studies of yeast cells by different research teams around the world. Using bioinformatics techniques (advanced data processing of biological information) to identify patterns and trends in the enormous flux of data supplied by these studies and by the sequencing of the yeast genome, they proposed a "football coach" mechanism that knows when to call up the substitute players.

This "coach" is a feedback mechanism based on the raw materials genes use to make proteins. When a gene is working at full capacity, it will use up most of the raw material available to it, leaving little in its original state. But, if it's not making sufficient quantities of protein, or producing defective proteins that are missing bits, a relatively larger amount of the raw material will be left over. Raw material that is sitting around activates a special set of proteins called transcription factors, whose job is to turn on genes. The transcription factors then bind to, and activate the substitute genes.

Why have genes to make proteins similar enough to substitute for each other, but dissimilar enough to do it imperfectly? Pilpel's group proposed that the small variations between exchangeable genes, such as differences in the conditions that cause them to be activated, impart to each a unique function. These differences in function make them sufficiently vital to be preserved by evolution, yet allow them, when necessary, to step in for a gene on a different team as a substitute player.

###

Dr. Yitzhak Pilpel's research is supported by the Leo and Julia Forchheimer Center for Molecular Genetics; Mr. Nathan Kahn, Riverdale, NY; the Ben May Charitable Trust; the Dr. Ernst Nathan Fund for Biomedical Research; the Rosenzweig-Coopersmith Foundation; the Samuel M. Soref & Helene K. Soref Foundation and Mr. Walter Strauss, Switzerland.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Weizmann Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Weizmann Institute. "Weizmann Institute Scientists Discover How Substitutions Are Made For Injured Genes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 March 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050309135243.htm>.
Weizmann Institute. (2005, March 17). Weizmann Institute Scientists Discover How Substitutions Are Made For Injured Genes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050309135243.htm
Weizmann Institute. "Weizmann Institute Scientists Discover How Substitutions Are Made For Injured Genes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050309135243.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
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