Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genome Discovery Will Help Combat Disease And Lead To New Drugs

Date:
December 27, 2005
Source:
University of Manchester
Summary:
An international consortium of researchers led by the University of Manchester has cracked the gene code behind a key family of fungi, which includes both the leading cause of death in leukaemia and bone marrow transplant patients and an essential ingredient of soy sauce.

Cleistothecium - sexual spore container, false coloured from Aspergillus nidulans.
Credit: Courtesy of Professor Rheinhard Fischer, Institut fόr Angewandte Biowissenschaften Abt. fόr Angewandte Mikrobiologie der Universitδt Karlsruh, with whom copyright remains

An international consortium of researchers led by the University of Manchester has cracked the gene code behind a key family of fungi, which includes both the leading cause of death in leukaemia and bone marrow transplant patients and an essential ingredient of soy sauce.

Related Articles


The 'genome sequences' or genetic maps for the fungi Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus nidulans and Aspergillus oryzae are published on 22 December in Nature magazine. Despite being from the same fungal family, they have been found to be as genetically different as fish and man.

Aspergillus is a very common air-borne fungus, carried all over the world as spores. Although usually harmless, the species Aspergillus fumigatus was identified as a cause of infection as long ago as 1848 and is now the leading infectious cause of death in vulnerable leukaemia and bone marrow transplant patients. Aspergillus nidulans has been a leading experimental system helping to unravel many fundamental cellular processes for the last 50 years, whilst Aspergillus oryzae has been used in the Far East for 2000 years to produce sake (rice wine), miso (soybean paste) and shoyu (soy sauce).

The researchers have found that the three species only display around 68% of the same proteins, a similar percentage to that shared by mammals and fish which diverged 450 million years ago. They also differ considerably in genome size, with Aspergillus oryzae being 31% bigger than Aspergillus fumigatus and 24% bigger than Aspergillus nidulans. Intriguingly, over 30% of the 9,500-14,000 genes identified are new to science and of unknown function and structure.

These results are being reported in three different papers in Nature, and reflect the efforts of an international collaboration of scientists and sequencing centres. The University's Professor David Denning, who coordinated the project, said: "Fungi (including Aspergillus) play a critical role in the earth's ecosystem, being responsible for almost all degradation of plant material as well as recycling nitrogen. Aspergillus fumigatus is a major constituent of compost, and mould fungi have been important sources of drugs including penicillin and ciclosporin (for transplantation).

"However, they are something of a Jekyll and Hyde and also produce toxins known as mycotoxins, such as aflatoxin which can cause liver cancer. Aspergillus causes a life-threatening infection for transplant and leukaemic patients, as well as being a major allergen for asthmatics.

"Identifying these genome sequences will transform scientific understanding of why this group of fungi is so lethal and allergenic. The importance of the project in helping develop new drugs and diagnostic tests, and understand and prevent allergies and diseases like pneumonia and sinusitis, cannot be overestimated. The information revealed will also develop our understanding of the biology of composting and mycotoxin production, and provide benefits for many other areas of science and medicine."



Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Manchester. "Genome Discovery Will Help Combat Disease And Lead To New Drugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 December 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051227160742.htm>.
University of Manchester. (2005, December 27). Genome Discovery Will Help Combat Disease And Lead To New Drugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051227160742.htm
University of Manchester. "Genome Discovery Will Help Combat Disease And Lead To New Drugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051227160742.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rare Goblin Shark Found in Australia

Rare Goblin Shark Found in Australia

AFP (Mar. 3, 2015) — A goblin shark, a rare sea creature described as an &apos;alien of the deep&apos; is found off Australia and delivered to the Australian Museum in Sydney. Duration: 01:25 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
500 Snakes Surprise Construction Workers In Canada

500 Snakes Surprise Construction Workers In Canada

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) — Hundreds of snakes, disturbed by a construction project, were relocated to a wildlife rescue association in Canada. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Going Gluten-Free Could Get You A Tax Break

Going Gluten-Free Could Get You A Tax Break

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) — If a doctor advises you to remove gluten from your diet, you could get a tax deduction on the amount you spend on gluten-free foods. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Zookeepers Copy Animal Poses In Hilarious Viral Photos

Zookeepers Copy Animal Poses In Hilarious Viral Photos

Buzz60 (Mar. 2, 2015) — Zookeepers at the Symbio Wildlife Park in Helensburgh, Australia decided to take some of their favorite animal photos and recreate them by posing just like the animals. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
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

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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