Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Proteomics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Shark, Human Proteins are Surprisingly Similar

Published: Friday, December 06, 2013
Last Updated: Friday, December 06, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Despite widespread fascination with sharks, the world’s oldest ocean predators have long been a genetic mystery.

The first deep dive into a great white shark’s genetic code has fished up big surprises behind a design so effective it has barely changed since before dinosaurs roamed.

Researchers have discovered that many of the endangered great white shark’s proteins involved in an array of different functions – including metabolism – match humans more closely than they do zebrafish, the quintessential fish model.

Michael Stanhope, professor of evolutionary genomics at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and scientists at the Save Our Seas Shark Research Center at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) published the study in the November issue of BMC Genomics. It lays the foundation for genomic exploration of sharks and vastly expands genetic tools for their conservation, said Stanhope.

“We were very surprised to find, that for many categories of proteins, sharks share more similarities with humans than zebrafish,” he said. “Although sharks and bony fishes are not closely related, they are nonetheless both fish … [while] mammals have very different anatomies and physiologies. Nevertheless, our findings open the possibility that some aspects of white shark metabolism, as well as other aspects of its overall biochemistry, might be more similar to that of a mammal than to that of a bony fish.”

The study launched when Stanhope and NSU Professor Mahmood Shivji received a Save Our Seas Foundation grant and a rare gift of a great white shark heart. The heart had been autopsied from an illegally fished shark, confiscated by government authorities and donated to their project.

The researchers sequenced the heart’s transcriptome – the messenger molecules produced from the shark’s genome, including those active in making proteins. Then they categorized the proteins, deduced from the transcriptome, based on their functions and found that the proportions of white shark proteins in many categories matched humans more closely than zebrafish. Of particular interest was that white shark had a closer match to humans for proteins involved in metabolism.

“We think this has to do with a rare trait in fish called regional endothermy,” said Stanhope. “Unlike nearly all fish, including most sharks, the white shark can keep body temperature of some organs warmer than the ambient water. This trait is useful for fast swimming, digestion and providing the animal the capability to exploit a much broader thermal regime.”

By comparing transcriptomes of endothermic sharks to cold-bodied sharks and other fishes, the researchers hope to find which genes bestow this unusual ability, while also planning similar transcriptomic studies to understand other distinctive properties in sharks.

“Sharks have many fascinating characteristics,” said Stanhope. “Some give live birth to fully formed young, while some lay eggs. In some species, the embryos eat the remaining eggs or even other embryos while still developing in the uterus. Some can dive very deep, others cannot. Some stay local; others migrate across the entire ocean basins. White sharks dive deep, migrate very long distances and give live birth. We will use what we’ve learned in this species in a broader comparative study of genes involved in these diverse behaviors.”

Because sharks are apex predators, their decreasing number threatens the stability of marine ecosystems, on which millions of people rely for food. This study also increased the number of genetic markers scientist can use to study the population biology of great white and related sharks, Stanhope said, by a thousandfold, from which they hope to further expand knowledge of these fascinating animals, many of which are in urgent need of conservation.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Gene Prevents Buildup of Misfolded Cell Proteins
For the first time, Cornell researchers have demonstrated how a gene called SEL1L plays a critical role in clearing away misfolded proteins.
Friday, January 24, 2014
Gene Thought to be Linked to Alzheimer's is Marker for Only Mild Impairment
Defying the widely held belief that a specific gene is the biggest risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, report says that people with that gene are more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment -- but not Alzheimer's.
Monday, February 18, 2013
Imaging Facility adds Two Tools for Microscopy
Cornell's Imaging Facility owns microscopes, scanners and ultrasound units for revealing details that can't be seen with the naked eye.
Monday, February 18, 2013
Study Finds How Stressed-Out Cells Halt Protein Synthesis
Researchers also find protein-making can be resumed once stress has passed.
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Protein Regulates Protein Folding in Cells During Stress
Researchers link protein known for cell mobility with protein folding during stress.
Thursday, January 03, 2013
Study: How Cells form 'Trash Bags' for Recycling Waste
A class of membrane-sculpting proteins create vesicles that carry old and damaged proteins from the surface of cellular compartments into internal recycling plants where the waste is degraded and components are reused.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Proteins Barge in to Turn Off Unneeded Genes and Save Energy
When they activate a gene, living cells have a system in reserve to turn it off.
Friday, September 07, 2012
Cell Membrane Proteins Feel Long-Range Forces
Proteins embedded in the lipid membranes of cells feel long-range attractive forces in specific patterns that mediate the proteins' behaviour.
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
New Method Helps Researchers Decode Genomes
Although scientists sequenced the entire human genome more than 10 years ago, much work remains to understand what proteins all those genes code for.
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Cell Membrane Proteins Feel Long-Range Forces
A team from Cornell have identified the physical mechanisms behind protein interactions, which are set off by changes in cellular membranes.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Insights into Protein Folding May Lead to Better Flu Vaccine
New method for looking at how proteins fold allows researchers to take snapshots of ribosomes.
Friday, August 03, 2012
Bacteria Employ 'Quality-control' Machinery, say Biomolecular Engineers
Like quality-control managers in factories, bacteria possess built-in machinery that track the shape and quality of proteins trying to pass through their cytoplasmic membranes.
Friday, August 03, 2012
Scientific News
Cellular Contamination Pathway for Heavy Elements Identified
Berkeley Lab scientists find that an iron-binding protein can transport actinides into cells.
Lemon Juice and Human Norovirus
Citric acid may prevent the highly contagious norovirus from infecting humans, scientists discovered from the German Cancer Research Center.
Signature of Microbiomes Linked to Schizophrenia
Studying microbiomes in throat may help identify causes and treatments of brain disorder.
Structural Discoveries Could Aid in Better Drug Design
Scientists have uncovered the structural details of how some proteins interact to turn two different signals into a single integrated output.
Protein Found to Play a Key Role in Blocking Pathogen Survival
Calprotectin fends off microbial invaders by limiting access to iron, an important nutrient.
Study Identifies the Off Switch for Biofilm Formation
New discovery could help prevent the formation of infectious bacterial films on hospital equipment.
How DNA ‘Proofreader’ Proteins Pick and Edit Their Reading Material
Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have discovered how two important proofreader proteins know where to look for errors during DNA replication and how they work together to signal the body’s repair mechanism.
Protein Found to Control Inflammatory Response
A new Northwestern Medicine study shows that a protein called POP1 prevents severe inflammation and, potentially, diseases caused by excessive inflammatory responses.
X-ray Laser Experiment Could Help in Designing Drugs for Brain Disorders
Scientists found that when two protein structures in the brain join up, they act as an amplifier for a slight increase in calcium concentration, triggering a gunshot-like release of neurotransmitters from one neuron to another.
Team Identifies Structure of Tumor-Suppressing Protein
An international group of researchers led by Carnegie Mellon University physicists Mathias Lösche and Frank Heinrich have established the structure of an important tumor suppressing protein, PTEN.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!