Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Nature Tinkers With The Cellular Clock

Date:
September 28, 2006
Source:
European Molecular Biology Laboratory
Summary:
The cell cycle is regulated by several layers of control that work very differently. Researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) have now discovered that they change in a highly coordinated fashion during evolution and evolve remarkably fast.

Three organisms use the same molecular machines (represented as grey boxes), but regulate different parts (highlighted in green, yellow and red in human, budding yeast and fission yeast).
Credit: Image courtesy of European Molecular Biology Laboratory

The life of a cell is all about growing and dividing at the right time. That is why the cell cycle is one of the most tightly regulated cellular processes. A control system with several layers adjusts when key components of the cell cycle machinery are produced, activated and degraded to make sure that the schedule is kept.

These layers of control work differently and are usually studied separately, but researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) have now discovered that they change in a highly coordinated fashion during evolution. The study, which will be published in this week's online issue of Nature, also reveals that although most components of the cell cycle have been conserved over one billion years, the temporal regulation of this process has evolved remarkably fast.

The cell cycle is so fundamental for a cell that its machinery has been almost entirely conserved through evolution. Crucial components are made only at specific times to ensure that each machine is active only during the right phase of the cycle.

Comparing cell cycle genes that are conserved between humans, yeasts and thale cress, Peer Bork and colleagues at EMBL and DTU found that while many genes in each organism are expressed only at specific times of the cell cycle, it is not the same genes that are temporally regulated in each species.

"Regulating processes by controlling the time at which genes are expressed is a strategy that is conserved," says Peer Bork, joint coordinator of EMBL's Structural and Computational Biology Unit, "but details of which genes are regulated in this way and the exact timing of their expression have changed a lot throughout evolution. What is really surprising is the speed at which these regulatory systems evolve. We are talking about roughly 100 million years for a big change. On the timescale of evolution this is incredibly fast for such a central process."

To have a safety net when temporal control at the gene level fails, cells also regulate the activity of cell cycle proteins directly, switching them on and off and modifying them at particular sites. A closer look at these proteins revealed that changes in the control of gene expression often go together with changes in the regulation of the corresponding protein.

"To our surprise, we found that these two different mechanisms of temporal control evolve together in a coordinated fashion," says Sψren Brunak, Professor at DTU. "This double layer of control seems so important that evolution has conserved it despite dramatic changes in the regulation of each mechanism."

The new insights gained have broad implications. The principles discovered might govern also the control of other temporally regulated systems like embryonic development. The fast evolution of temporal regulation also raises the question in how far general conclusions about regulatory systems can be drawn from studying simple model organisms like yeast or fruit flies.


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. "How Nature Tinkers With The Cellular Clock." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 September 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060927201744.htm>.
European Molecular Biology Laboratory. (2006, September 28). How Nature Tinkers With The Cellular Clock. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060927201744.htm
European Molecular Biology Laboratory. "How Nature Tinkers With The Cellular Clock." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060927201744.htm (accessed April 25, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, April 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) — A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) — Scientists say for the extremely elderly, their stem cells might reach a state of exhaustion. This could limit one's life span. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Kangaroo Rescued from Swimming Pool

Raw: Kangaroo Rescued from Swimming Pool

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) — A kangaroo was saved from drowning in a backyard suburban swimming pool in Australia's Victoria state on Thursday. Australian broadcaster Channel 7 showed footage of the kangaroo struggling to get out of the pool. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Marijuana Use Lead To Serious Heart Problems?

Could Marijuana Use Lead To Serious Heart Problems?

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) — A new study says marijuana use could lead to serious heart-related complications. 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