Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists observe single gene activity in living cells in detail for first time

Date:
May 23, 2011
Source:
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Summary:
Researchers have for the first time observed the activity of a single gene in living cells. In an unprecedented study, scientists were able to follow, in real time, the process of gene transcription, which occurs when a gene converts its DNA information into molecules of messenger RNA that go on to make the protein coded by the gene.

Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have for the first time observed the activity of a single gene in living cells. In an unprecedented study, published in the April 22 online edition of Science, Einstein scientists were able to follow, in real time, the process of gene transcription, which occurs when a gene converts its DNA information into molecules of messenger RNA (mRNA) that go on to make the protein coded by the gene.

Related Articles


Robert Singer, Ph.D., co-director of the Gruss Lipper Biophotonics Center at Einstein and professor and co-chair of anatomy and structural biology, is senior author of the paper. The study's lead author is Daniel Larson, Ph.D., previously a member of Dr. Singer's lab and now an investigator at the National Cancer Institute and head of the institute's Systems Biology of Gene Expression Section.

Using florescent proteins, the researchers were able to follow mRNA activity by inserting DNA sequences into a gene in live yeast cells. RNA made from these sequences bound a modified green fluorescent protein; expression of the entire gene resulted in mRNA molecules that were visible with fluorescent light. Gene transcription is a key step in synthesizing proteins, which govern the body's structure and function and underlie many diseases when present in mutated form or in aberrant amounts.

The study involved monitoring the activity of RNA polymerase -- the enzyme that constructs mRNA molecules by linking single nucleotides together into a molecular chain. The researchers were able to directly observe and measure the key steps involved in transcription: initiation (triggered when proteins called transcription factors bind to the promoter region of the gene), elongation (the progressive lengthening of mRNA as RNA polymerase adds more nucleotides to it) and termination (when mRNA breaks free from its DNA template, eventually migrating from the cell nucleus to the cytoplasm to serve as a blueprint for protein construction).

"The view of transcription in yeast that emerges from this study is that its initiation seems to be a random event that depends on the success of transcription factors searching through the yeast nucleus looking for a particular gene's promoter region," said Dr. Singer. "By contrast, once initiation occurs, RNA polymerase recruits individual nucleotides for the growing mRNA molecule in an efficient and predictable manner."

"Understanding how gene expression is regulated in a single-celled organism such as yeast is a first step in understanding the same processes in humans, which have a vastly larger and more complex genome," said Dr. Larson. "But fundamentally, the same molecular laws governing transcription factors will still apply."

This research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Daniel R. Larson, Daniel Zenklusen, Bin Wu, Jeffrey A. Chao and Robert H. Singer. Real-Time Observation of Transcription Initiation and Elongation on an Endogenous Yeast Gene. Science, April 2011: Vol. 332 no. 6028 pp. 475-478 DOI: 10.1126/science.1202142

Cite This Page:

Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "Scientists observe single gene activity in living cells in detail for first time." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110421141636.htm>.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine. (2011, May 23). Scientists observe single gene activity in living cells in detail for first time. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110421141636.htm
Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "Scientists observe single gene activity in living cells in detail for first time." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110421141636.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. 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


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