Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How genes hide their function

Date:
August 19, 2010
Source:
RIKEN
Summary:
Researchers in Japan have illuminated mechanisms underlying the genetic robustness of metabolic effects in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Their findings reveal a key balance between the roles played by duplicate genes and metabolic network connectivity in functional compensation.

Researchers at the RIKEN Plant Science Center have illuminated mechanisms underlying the genetic robustness of metabolic effects in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Their findings, reported in Molecular Biology and Evolution, reveal a key balance between the roles played by duplicate genes and metabolic network connectivity in functional compensation.

Despite many decades of research, the relationship between genes and their phenotypic effects remains poorly understood. The standard approach of knocking out individual genes to assess their role runs into the problem of genetic robustness: cells compensate for gene loss by reproducing the gene's function via other means, concealing its actual phenotypic effect.

Narrowing this effect to metabolic products, two functional compensation mechanisms enable cells to do this: gene duplication and alternate metabolic pathways. To explore the relative contribution of each, the researchers analyzed 35 metabolic products -- 17 primary metabolites and 18 secondary metabolites -- from 1976 genes in mutants of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), an analytical chemistry technique, they compared what happens to production of these metabolites when genes with and without duplicates are knocked out.

Results reveal that only duplicate genes with very high similarity play a significant role in functional compensation, mainly in the production of secondary metabolites and in functions associated with multiple metabolic products. Alternative pathways, in contrast, were found to compensate for the production of primary metabolites, which are more highly-connected in metabolic networks.

Together, the results uncover a complementary relationship between compensation mechanisms in A. thaliana, indicating that duplicate genes play an important role only when the number of alternative pathways is low. By exposing the mechanisms separating genes from their phenotypic effects, the findings thus shed valuable new light on the gene-phenotype relationship, laying the groundwork for new theoretical models in systems biology.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Kousuke Hanada, Yuji Sawada, Takashi Kuromori, Klausnitzer Romy, Kazuki Saito, Tetsuro Toyoda, Kazuo Shinozaki, Wen-Hsiung Li and Masami Yokota Hirai. Functional compensation of primary and secondary metabolites by duplicate genes in Arabidopsis thaliana. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 2010; DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msq204

Cite This Page:

RIKEN. "How genes hide their function." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100818090018.htm>.
RIKEN. (2010, August 19). How genes hide their function. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100818090018.htm
RIKEN. "How genes hide their function." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100818090018.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