Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Daughter Is Different From Mother ... In Yeast Cells

Date:
August 23, 2008
Source:
Northwestern University
Summary:
Scientists know how mother and daughter can be so different. Mother and daughter yeast cells, that is. The researchers have discovered a new mechanism for cell fate determination -- how one cell, the daughter, becomes dramatically different from the mother, even though they have the same genetic material. The study shows why mothers and daughters differ in how they express their genes: a certain gene regulator gets trapped in the daughter cell's nucleus.

Yeast cells.
Credit: Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The mother-daughter relationship can be difficult to understand. Why are the two so different? Now a Northwestern University study shows how this happens. In yeast cells, that is.

A research team has discovered a new mechanism for cell fate determination -- how one cell, the daughter, becomes dramatically different from the mother, even though they have the same genetic material. The study shows why mothers and daughters differ in how they express their genes.

By studying yeast, whose entire genome is known, scientists can learn the basics of cell division and apply that knowledge to the human system. Many of the fundamental mechanisms for cell division in yeast are conserved, or very similar, in mammals; many of the proteins involved in human disease are related to proteins that are involved in yeast cell division.

The new knowledge about cell fate determination could lead to a better understanding of healthy human cells, what goes awry in cancer cells and how human stem cells and germ cells work.

"Cancer may reflect a partial and aberrant loss of differentiated character, in which cells that were formerly specified to perform a specific task 'forget' that, and become more like the rapidly dividing stem cells from which they came," said Eric L. Weiss, assistant professor of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology in Northwestern's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. Weiss led the research team, which included scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"Understanding how differentiated states are specified might help us figure out how to remind cancer cells to go back to their original tasks or fates -- or, more likely, die."

When a yeast cell divides it produces a mother cell and a smaller, different daughter cell. The daughter cell is the one that actually performs the final act of separation, cutting its connection to the mother cell. And the daughter takes longer than the mother to begin the next cycle of division, since it needs time to grow up.

The key to the researchers' discovery of how this differentiation works is the gene regulator Ace2, a protein that directly turns genes on. The researchers found that the protein gets trapped in the nucleus of the daughter cell, turning on genes that make daughter different from mother.

The team is the first to show that the regulator is trapped because a signaling pathway (a protein kinase called Cbk1) turns on and blocks Ace2 from interacting with the cell's nuclear export machinery. Without this specific block, the machinery would move the regulator out of the nucleus, and the daughter cell would be more motherlike -- not as different.

"Daughter-cell gene expression is special, and now we know why," said Weiss.

The researchers also found that the differentiation of the mother cell and daughter cell -- this trapping of the regulator in the daughter nucleus -- occurs while the two cells are still connected.

In addition to Weiss, other authors of the paper are Emily Mazanka (lead author), Brian J. Yeh and Patrick Charoenpong, from Northwestern; and Jes Alexander, Drew M. Lowery and Michael Yaffee, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Mazanka et al. The NDR/LATS Family Kinase Cbk1 Directly Controls Transcriptional Asymmetry. PLoS Biology, 2008; 6 (8): e203 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0060203

Cite This Page:

Northwestern University. "How Daughter Is Different From Mother ... In Yeast Cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080818220607.htm>.
Northwestern University. (2008, August 23). How Daughter Is Different From Mother ... In Yeast Cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 14, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080818220607.htm
Northwestern University. "How Daughter Is Different From Mother ... In Yeast Cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080818220607.htm (accessed September 14, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) — A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — New research has shown that the Spinosaurus, the largest carnivorous dinosaur, might have been just as well suited for life in the water as on land. 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