Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Architects Of The Envelope: Scientists Discover An Essential Nucleus-building Protein

Date:
September 17, 2006
Source:
Institute for Research in Biomedicine
Summary:
Every time a cell divides, the protective envelope that surrounds the nucleus is broken down and rebuilt into two new ones. Envelopes are highly complex structures of membranes and proteins which must be precisely reassembled for the nuclei to function. Scientists at the IRB in Barcelona, the EMBL and the Pasteur Institute have discovered a protein that plays a crucial role in the assembly and structure of the nucleus.

The MEL-28 protein ensures that a dividing cell maintains a proper nuclear structure (top); without MEL-28, the embrane that encloses the cell's nucleus doesn't completely seal, allowing the DNA to mix with the cytoplasm.
Credit: Image courtesy of Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB)

Every time a cell divides, the protective envelope that surrounds the nucleus is broken down and rebuilt into two new ones. Envelopes are highly complex structures of membranes and proteins which must be precisely reassembled for the nuclei to function. Scientists at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) in Barcelona, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg and the Pasteur Institute in Paris have discovered a protein that plays a crucial role in the assembly and structure of the nucleus. Their work appears in the September 5 issue of Current Biology.

The envelope acts as a barrier between the outer cell compartment, called the cytoplasm, and DNA stored in the cell nucleus. It regulates which molecules are allowed to pass back and forth between the two compartments. Most of this traffic passes through basket-shaped passageways called nuclear pores, which consist of intricately-woven proteins. "We haven't yet identified all the molecules in the nuclear envelope, and many questions remain about the process by which molecules are granted or denied passage," says Peter Askjaer of IRB.

The new study shows that a protein called MEL-28 is a component of nuclear pores in the worm C. elegans, one of biology's most important model organisms. More importantly, it reveals that MEL-28 is one of the key architects as bits of membrane and proteins are drawn together to build new envelopes.

When scientists blocked the activity of MEL-28, they discovered that patches of membranes attached themselves to DNA but couldn't seal themselves off into a complete envelope. A step-by-step analysis showed that without the protein, other molecules are not drawn together properly as envelopes are rebuilt. The components were scrambled; pores were no longer built, and the wrong molecules were able to get access to DNA. Because MEL-28 remains attached to DNA during the entire process of cell division, the scientists believe it plays a crucial role early in the formation of the envelope.

MEL-28 has a close relative in human cells; one of the researchers' future projects will be to examine whether this molecule plays a similar role in our own species. Oddly-shaped nuclear envelopes are seen in human genetic diseases such as progeria, a rare condition that causes affected children to age prematurely, and some types of muscular dystrophies. "Understanding how the nuclear envelope forms in the first place may eventually help us understand how changes in it can cause these diseases and potentially how they can be treated," says Askjaer.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Institute for Research in Biomedicine. "Architects Of The Envelope: Scientists Discover An Essential Nucleus-building Protein." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 September 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060915204803.htm>.
Institute for Research in Biomedicine. (2006, September 17). Architects Of The Envelope: Scientists Discover An Essential Nucleus-building Protein. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060915204803.htm
Institute for Research in Biomedicine. "Architects Of The Envelope: Scientists Discover An Essential Nucleus-building Protein." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060915204803.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 15, 2014) — New York officials unveil subway tunnels that were refurbished after Superstorm Sandy. Nathan Frandino reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — U.S. firms worry they’re falling behind in the marketplace as the FAA considers how to regulate commercial drones. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Gun Innovators Fear Backlash From Gun Rights Advocates

Smart Gun Innovators Fear Backlash From Gun Rights Advocates

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — Winners of a contest for smart gun design are asking not to be named after others in the industry received threats for marketing similar products. 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