Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Commonly used antibodies tested: Resulting database to yield big gains for genetic scientists

Date:
December 6, 2010
Source:
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Summary:
Scientists have tested more than 200 antibodies against 57 histone modifications (or flavors) in three different organisms, using three different tests commonly used in this kind of genetic analysis. They found that about 25 percent of antibodies currently sold have a problem with specificity -- targeting the anticipated histone -- in a given test. They believe that this proportion is likely to remain steady over time.

If a strand of your DNA was stretched out completely, it would be more than six feet long. It's hard to imagine that it can fit inside the nucleus of one of your cells, but that's exactly how it works.

For much of the last century, scientists have been busy figuring out how DNA is packaged in cells, and have found strong indications that the packaging is integral to how DNA works. The packaging -- comprised mostly of an amino acid molecule called a histone -- influences the on and off switches of different genes that regulate cellular function and play a role in human diseases ranging from cancer to genetic disorders. Scientists study histones by using antibodies to specific "flavors" of histones that are only very slightly different from one another. The antibodies help to pinpoint what DNA is being packaged by a certain kind of "flavor" of histone, and how that affects gene regulation. Different flavors affect genes differently.

"And this is where it gets complicated," says Jason Lieb, PhD, who led the project. "Many companies make these antibodies that we scientists use in our labs -- but there are so many different kinds of histones and types of tests we do that it's just not feasible for the companies to anticipate every single way that a given antibody can be used."

This is a problem, explains Lieb, who is a professor of biology at UNC-Chapel Hill and member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, since scientists can't be absolutely certain that the antibody is recognizing a specific "flavor" of histone, or one that is very closely related.

"Histones are essentially the key to the DNA library. They tell you which 'shelves' of that library -- or areas of the genome -- are open or closed to information moving in and out. But since the differences between the different 'flavors' of histones are often extremely small, and it's likely that an antibody may react with more than one histone or in different ways depending on the type of test being used in the lab. It makes scientific precision very difficult," Lieb notes.

In a paper published December 6 in the journal Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, Lieb and his colleagues from across the country describe how they tested more than 200 antibodies against 57 histone modifications (or flavors) in three different organisms, using three different tests commonly used in this kind of genetic analysis. They found that about 25 percent of antibodies currently sold have a problem with specificity -- targeting the anticipated histone -- in a given test. They believe that this proportion is likely to remain steady over time.

"So we thought, okay, we need to help ourselves as scientists. We set up a web-based searchable database at http://compbio.med.harvard.edu/antibodies. Our results are there and other scientists can also post their results so that we have a self-sustaining, up-to-date source of information that is really important to scientists working to understand a broad range of genetic phenomena," he said.

The research was funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (part of the United States National Institutes of Health) and included researchers from the Universities of California at Santa Cruz, Berkeley, and San Diego, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Harvard Medical School, the University of Cambridge (UK), Washington University in St. Louis, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (Canada) and Rutgers University.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Thea A Egelhofer, Aki Minoda, Sarit Klugman, Kyungjoon Lee, Paulina Kolasinska-Zwierz, Artyom A Alekseyenko, Ming-Sin Cheung, Daniel S Day, Sarah Gadel, Andrey A Gorchakov, Tingting Gu, Peter V Kharchenko, Samantha Kuan, Isabel Latorre, Daniela Linder-Basso, Ying Luu, Queminh Ngo, Marc Perry, Andreas Rechtsteiner, Nicole C Riddle, Yuri B Schwartz, Gregory A Shanower, Anne Vielle, Julie Ahringer, Sarah C R Elgin, Mitzi I Kuroda, Vincenzo Pirrotta, Bing Ren, Susan Strome, Peter J Park, Gary H Karpen, R David Hawkins, Jason D Lieb. An assessment of histone-modification antibody quality. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, 2010; DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.1972

Cite This Page:

University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "Commonly used antibodies tested: Resulting database to yield big gains for genetic scientists." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101206101325.htm>.
University of North Carolina School of Medicine. (2010, December 6). Commonly used antibodies tested: Resulting database to yield big gains for genetic scientists. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101206101325.htm
University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "Commonly used antibodies tested: Resulting database to yield big gains for genetic scientists." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101206101325.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) Residents of Sierra Leone's capital voice their fears as the Ebola virus sweeps through west Africa. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Herman Goldman has worked at the same lighting store for almost 75 years. Find out his secrets to a happy, productive life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patient Apparently Improving, Outbreak Is Not

American Ebola Patient Apparently Improving, Outbreak Is Not

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Nancy Writebol, an American missionary who contracted Ebola, is apparently getting better, according to her husband. The outbreak, however, is not. 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