Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Junk' DNA Cut-and-paste Protein: Discovery May Prove Invaluable In Quest For Gene Therapies

Date:
September 23, 2009
Source:
University of Edinburgh
Summary:
Scientists have identified how a protein enables sections of so-called junk DNA to be cut and pasted within genetic code -- a finding which could speed development of gene therapies. The study sheds light on the process, known as DNA transposition, in which shifted genes have a significant effect on the behavior of neighboring genes. In the human genome, rearrangement of antibody genes can enable the immune system to target infection more effectively.

New research sheds light on how a protein enables sections of so-called junk DNA to be cut out and reinserted elsewhere in the genome.
Credit: iStockphoto/Andrey Prokhorov

Scientists have identified how a protein enables sections of so-called junk DNA to be cut and pasted within genetic code – a finding which could speed development of gene therapies.

The study by researchers at the University of Edinburgh sheds light on the process, known as DNA transposition, in which shifted genes have a significant effect on the behaviour of neighbouring genes. In the human genome, rearrangement of antibody genes can enable the immune system to target infection more effectively.

The research identifies how the enzyme is able to cut out a section of DNA and reinsert it elsewhere in the genome. The study, published in the journal Cell, was funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council.

The cut-and-paste property of shifted DNA is now being used to develop tools for scientific research and medical applications. Learning more about transposition could help scientists understand how to control the process and speed the development of gene therapies – which introduce into cells genes with beneficial properties that, for example, can fight hereditary diseases or cancer.

Junk DNA, which accounts for almost half of the human genome, was originally believed to have no purpose. However, it is now emerging that movement of junk DNA, in a cut-and-paste mechanism, can lead to beneficial changes in cells.

Dr Julia Richardson of the University's School of Biological Sciences, who led the study, said: "By forming a picture of the enzyme that causes DNA to shift, and discovering how this works, we understand more about how these proteins could be adapted and controlled. This may one day enable genes to be pasted into cells exactly where they are needed – which could be of enormous benefit in developing gene therapies."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Julia M. Richardson, Sean D. Colloms, David J. Finnegan, Malcolm D. Walkinshaw. Molecular Architecture of the Mos1 Paired-End Complex: The Structural Basis of DNA Transposition in a Eukaryote. Cell, 2009; 138 (6): 1096 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2009.07.012

Cite This Page:

University of Edinburgh. "'Junk' DNA Cut-and-paste Protein: Discovery May Prove Invaluable In Quest For Gene Therapies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090921134702.htm>.
University of Edinburgh. (2009, September 23). 'Junk' DNA Cut-and-paste Protein: Discovery May Prove Invaluable In Quest For Gene Therapies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090921134702.htm
University of Edinburgh. "'Junk' DNA Cut-and-paste Protein: Discovery May Prove Invaluable In Quest For Gene Therapies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090921134702.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden laid out new guidelines for health care workers when dealing with the deadly Ebola virus including new precautions when taking off personal protective equipment. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
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


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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