Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sugarcoating Fruit Fly Development: Sugar Tags On Nuclear Proteins Have An Important Developmental Function

Date:
June 3, 2009
Source:
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)
Summary:
Scientists have discovered that sugar tags on nuclear proteins have an important developmental function Proteins are the executive agents that carry out all processes in a cell. Their activity is controlled and modified with the help of small chemical tags that can be dynamically added to and removed from the protein.

Proteins are the executive agents that carry out all processes in a cell. Their activity is controlled and modified with the help of small chemical tags that can be dynamically added to and removed from the protein. Some 25 years after its first discovery, researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg have now gained insight into the role of one of these tags, a small sugar residue, that is found on many different proteins across species.

In the current online issue of Science, they report that the addition of this sugar tag to proteins in the nucleus of a cell is vital for normal development in fruit flies.

Over 25 years ago scientists discovered that many proteins in the nucleus and cytoplasm have a small sugar molecule, called GlcNAc, attached to them. The enzyme that adds this sugar is called Ogt but since its discovery it has remained elusive why attaching GlcNAc to proteins is important. Researchers in the group of Jürg Müller at EMBL have now discovered that flies lacking Ogt show dramatic developmental defects. In the absence of Ogt cells do not develop into the appropriate cell types and body segments do not differentiate according to plan.

“Expressing the right genes at the right time is critical for a developing organism,” says Jürg Müller. “It is the appropriate combination of genes that tells a cell to turn into muscle, nerve or skin. This is why a tight control system regulates gene expression throughout development.”

One important component of this control system is a group of regulatory proteins, called Polycomb proteins. They switch off developmental genes when and where their activity is not needed and thereby prevent the formation of specialised tissues and organs in the wrong places.

The scientists found that in the absence of Ogt, Polycomb proteins are no longer able to inactivate developmental genes. They showed that one specific Polycomb protein, called Polyhomeotic, is modified with the sugar tag by Ogt and might be the link between Ogt and development. Further investigations are necessary to find out how the sugar tag affects the function of Polyhomeotic.

"Our findings were very surprising. GlcNAc has been found on so many different proteins in mammalian cells that we expected many processes to go wrong in a fly lacking Ogt. Instead we see a very specific effect on development in fruit flies that is likely brought about by a single nuclear protein that needs the sugar tag to function properly,” says Maria Cristina Gambetta, who carried out the research in Müller's lab.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. M.C. Gambetta, K. Oktaba & J. Müller. Essential Role of the Glycosyltransferase Sxc/Ogt in Polycomb Repression. Science, 2009; DOI: 10.1126/science.1169727

Cite This Page:

European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). "Sugarcoating Fruit Fly Development: Sugar Tags On Nuclear Proteins Have An Important Developmental Function." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090529074956.htm>.
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). (2009, June 3). Sugarcoating Fruit Fly Development: Sugar Tags On Nuclear Proteins Have An Important Developmental Function. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090529074956.htm
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). "Sugarcoating Fruit Fly Development: Sugar Tags On Nuclear Proteins Have An Important Developmental Function." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090529074956.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) — An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) — The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Newsy (July 23, 2014) — A U.C. San Diego researcher says jealousy isn't just a human trait, and dogs aren't the best at sharing the attention of humans with other dogs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Newsy (July 23, 2014) — ​It's called I Know Where Your Cat Lives, and you can keep hitting the "Random Cat" button to find more real cats all over the world. 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