Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Work With Fungus Uncovering Keys To DNA Methylation

Date:
December 18, 2008
Source:
University of Oregon
Summary:
Researchers have made progress on understanding biochemical communications among proteins involved in gene silencing. They have shed more light on the mechanism that regulates DNA methylation, a fundamental biological process in which a methyl group is attached to DNA, the genetic material in cells of living organisms.

Postdoctoral researcher Keyur K. Adhvaryu, left, and Eric Selker, biology professor, of the University of Oregon.
Credit: Photo by Jim Barlow

Researchers in a University of Oregon lab have shed more light on the mechanism that regulates DNA methylation, a fundamental biological process in which a methyl group is attached to DNA, the genetic material in cells of living organisms.

DNA methylation is essential for normal growth and development in plants and animals. It has been implicated in long-term memory, and irregularities in its process are associated with diseases such as cancer.

In the UO's Institute of Molecular Biology, Eric U. Selker and members of his laboratory use a quickly reproducing and easy-to-manipulate fungus, Neurospora crassa, to explore the control of DNA methylation. Neurospora is considered the simplest model organism for such research.

Reporting in the Dec. 15 issue of the journal Genes & Development, Selker and Keyur K. Adhvaryu, a postdoctoral researcher in the Selker lab, document that the enzyme protein phosphatase PP1 is necessary for normal methylation of DNA.

In the nucleus of eukaryotic cells, DNA is wrapped around histone proteins to form chromatin, and one histone, H3, turns out to be critical for DNA methylation. "It was long thought that histones were simply structural proteins, but we are learning that these proteins are also informational," Selker said.

This was demonstrated in the journal Nature in 2001 by Selker and his former postdoctoral research associate Hisashi Tamaru. They found that a protein required for DNA methylation, DIM-5, is an enzyme that adds a methyl group onto lysine 9 of histone H3. "This was the first solid indication that chromatin is important for DNA methylation," Selker said.

The new paper by Adhvaryu and Selker shows that PP1 is important to remove phosphates attached to serine 10 of H3, the site immediately adjacent to the site that DIM-5 needs to methylate, leading to DNA methylation.

In an accompanying article in the same issue of Genes & Development, Wolfgang Fischle, a biochemist at the Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, praises the findings of Selker and Adhvaryu. He writes that there appears to be extensive "crosstalk" involved in the chemical modifications that occur on histones to influence other enzymes that interact with chromatin "Adhvaryu and Selker provide novel insights into an intricate regulatory network involving histone phosphorylation, histone methylation and DNA methylation," he noted.

"DNA methylation seems to be a luxury item in Neurospora, which means we can manipulate it as we wish, making mutants that don't do it and thereby identify important players," Selker said. "We are identifying how DNA methylation is controlled and what it does in this organism. Our assumption is that a lot of what we find in Neurospora will be applicable to other systems."

In this case, Selker said, Keyur demonstrated very nicely, in a couple different ways, that protein phosphatase PP1 is required for normal DNA methylation. "DNA methylation is involved in a silencing of invasive DNA as well as a variety of normal genes, including those on the inactive X chromosome, those subjected to imprinting, and well as tumor suppressor genes," he said, adding that methylation of the latter class of genes can lead to cancer.

The research was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health to Selker and in part by an American Heart Association fellowship to Adhvaryu.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Oregon. "Work With Fungus Uncovering Keys To DNA Methylation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081215091009.htm>.
University of Oregon. (2008, December 18). Work With Fungus Uncovering Keys To DNA Methylation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081215091009.htm
University of Oregon. "Work With Fungus Uncovering Keys To DNA Methylation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081215091009.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) — An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Adorable Video of Baby Rhino and Lamb Friend Playing

Adorable Video of Baby Rhino and Lamb Friend Playing

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) — Gertjie the Rhino and Lammie the Lamb are teaching the world about animal conservation and friendship. TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) has the adorable video! 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