Nav: Home

Protective barrier inside chromosomes helps to keep cells healthy

December 01, 2016

Fresh insights into the structures that contain our genetic material could explain how the body's cells stay healthy.

A protective barrier formed inside each of our chromosomes helps to prevent errors occurring when cells divide, researchers say.

The study sheds light on the precise interplay between key factors inside chromosomes that leads to the formation of the barrier.

Findings from the study could help improve understanding of the causes of some diseases - including cancer - that are triggered by errors in the cell division process, the team says.

When cells divide, chromosomes containing our genetic information separate into two new cells, known as daughter cells. Errors in this process can lead to disease, the team says.

Scientists produced an artificial chromosome in the lab to investigate how cells renew themselves - a process known as cell division.

The method has allowed researchers to study key players involved in cell division - which include proteins that form much of the structure of chromosomes, and fragments of DNA that help to orchestrate the process.

The team at the University of Edinburgh focused on a region inside chromosomes - known as the centromere - which plays a pivotal role in the regulation of cell division.

They found that a complex series of steps takes place to form a barrier that prevents centromeres from being invaded and inactivated by other regions of the chromosome. This helps to maintain a fully functional centromere, thereby reducing the chances of errors occurring when the chromosomes separate, the team says.

The study, published in Nature Communications, was funded by the Wellcome Trust. It was carried out in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health in the US, and the Kazusa DNA Research Institute, Japan.

Professor William Earnshaw, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Biological Sciences, who led the study, said: "The creation of a protective barrier shields centromeres from other parts of the chromosome during cell division, which prevents disease-causing errors from occurring. The study was made possible by our unique synthetic chromosome system, which allowed us to study the structure and maintenance of centromeres in remarkable detail."
-end-


University of Edinburgh

Related Dna Articles:

Penn State DNA ladders: Inexpensive molecular rulers for DNA research
New license-free tools will allow researchers to estimate the size of DNA fragments for a fraction of the cost of currently available methods.
It is easier for a DNA knot...
How can long DNA filaments, which have convoluted and highly knotted structure, manage to pass through the tiny pores of biological systems?
How do metals interact with DNA?
Since a couple of decades, metal-containing drugs have been successfully used to fight against certain types of cancer.
Electrons use DNA like a wire for signaling DNA replication
A Caltech-led study has shown that the electrical wire-like behavior of DNA is involved in the molecule's replication.
Switched-on DNA
DNA, the stuff of life, may very well also pack quite the jolt for engineers trying to advance the development of tiny, low-cost electronic devices.
Researchers are first to see DNA 'blink'
Northwestern University biomedical engineers have developed imaging technology that is the first to see DNA 'blink,' or fluoresce.
Finding our way around DNA
A Salk team developed a tool that maps functional areas of the genome to better understand disease.
A 'strand' of DNA as never before
In a carefully designed polymer, researchers at the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences have imprinted a sequence of a single strand of DNA.
Doubling down on DNA
The African clawed frog X. laevis genome contains two full sets of chromosomes from two extinct ancestors.
'Poring over' DNA
Church's team at Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the Harvard Medical School developed a new electronic DNA sequencing platform based on biologically engineered nanopores that could help overcome present limitations.

Related Dna Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...