Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genetic Differences Between Males And Females Might Be Evened Out At The Rim Of The Nucleus

Date:
March 17, 2006
Source:
European Molecular Biology Laboratory
Summary:
Recent research at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) reveals new insights into how cells achieve equality between the sexes. A new link discovered between the membrane surrounding the nucleus and the male X-chromosome in fruit flies may play a crucial role in determining how active certain genes are. The study, which appears in the current issue of the journal Molecular Cell, may help researchers understand how male and female cells manage to produce the same quantities of certain proteins.

The hyperactive X-chromosome (red) of fruit flies can be found close to the nuclear membrane (green).
Credit: Image courtesy of European Molecular Biology Laboratory

Recent research at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) reveals new insights into how cells achieve equality between the sexes. A new link discovered between the membrane surrounding the nucleus and the male X-chromosome in fruit flies may play a crucial role in determining how active certain genes are. The study, which appears in the current issue of the journal Molecular Cell, may help researchers understand how male and female cells manage to produce the same quantities of certain proteins.

"The problem arises because the females of many species from insects to humans have two X-chromosomes whereas males have only one", says Asifa Akhtar whose group carried out the project at EMBL. "Since genes contain the recipes for proteins this would normally lead female cells to produce twice as many of the proteins encoded by the X-chromosome as males. Balance is achieved through the activity of an assembly of proteins, called the dosage compensation complex (DCC)."

In flies the DCC hyperactivates the male X-chromosome to double the amount of proteins it produces. Investigating how this hyperactivation is brought about Akhtar's group discovered that the DCC interacts with molecules that sit in the nuclear membrane where they form gateways to the nucleus. This interaction seems to play an important role in dosage compensation, because when the pore proteins are removed from a cell the hyperactivity of the X-chromosome is lost.

"We have found a complex with striking similarities to the fly DCC in human cells", says Sascha Mendjan from Akhtar's group. "This leaves room for speculations about its role in dosage compensation in mammals. Unlike flies, mammals inactivate one of the female X-chromosomes to match the protein contents between the sexes. But the fact that the machinery is evolutionary conserved suggests a common molecular basis from which the different mechanisms evolved."

The next step will now be to find out how exactly the membrane proteins influence the gene activity in different species. One possibility is that organising groups of genes in domains close to the membrane allows a cell to control their activity in a co-ordinated fashion.

"The nuclear membrane and the gateways to the nucleus are central meeting points in the cell where many different pathways overlap", says Jop Kind, a researcher in Akhtar's lab. "This makes them a strategic location not only to co-regulate groups of genes but also to coordinate them with other crucial cellular processes."



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Molecular Biology Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Molecular Biology Laboratory. "Genetic Differences Between Males And Females Might Be Evened Out At The Rim Of The Nucleus." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 March 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060317111038.htm>.
European Molecular Biology Laboratory. (2006, March 17). Genetic Differences Between Males And Females Might Be Evened Out At The Rim Of The Nucleus. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060317111038.htm
European Molecular Biology Laboratory. "Genetic Differences Between Males And Females Might Be Evened Out At The Rim Of The Nucleus." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060317111038.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 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:
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