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

A*STAR Scientists Make Discovery of Cell Nucleus Structure Crucial to Understanding Diseases

Published: Friday, February 08, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, February 07, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Genes relocated from their correct position in the nucleus cause them to malfunction and this may lead to the heart, blood vessels and muscles breaking down.

Scientists from Singapore and Germany have identified that the proteins lamin A (Lmna) and lamin B receptor (Lbr) are essential for holding silent genes in their correct position at the edge of the nucleus, in the form of heterochromatin.

A deviation from their normal position will cause the genes to malfunction, leading to heart failure, vascular disease and muscle wasting.

For hundreds of years before this discovery, scientists were puzzled by why heterochromatin clustered at the edge of the nucleus and how it was relevant to normal cell function.

This recent discovery will enable scientists to gain a better understanding of the diseases of the heart and muscles, and find cures for them in the future.

The findings by Audrey Wang and Colin Stewart of A*STAR's Institute of Medical Biology and Irina Solovei, Boris Joffe and Heinrich Leonhardt of the Ludwig Maximillian University in Munich, Germany, were recently published in the prestigious journal Cell.

The nucleus - the brain of the cell - carries all the information, in the form of chromatin necessary to help a cell grow, thrive, and reproduce, in the form of DNA packed into chromatin.

Hence, understanding how chromatin is organized in the nucleus is important to understanding disease and normal processes such as ageing.

The scientists showed that the two proteins lamin A and lamin B receptor are important to the organization of chromatin in the nucleus.

Using mouse models, they demonstrated that in the absence of the two proteins, heterochromatin collapsed into the nuclear centre. This disrupted gene expression and affected skeletal muscle development, resulting in muscle failure.

Professor Stewart, Research and Assistant Director of IMB, said, "These findings will provide new insights into how diseases arise and may help explain how mutations in lamin proteins result in a variety of different syndromes. In particular, we are extending these findings to explore how changes in chromatin position may contribute to heart failure. Moving forward, we will collaborate with cardiologists and vascular clinicians at SGH and NUHS to translate these findings to benefit patients."

Professor Birgitte Lane, Executive Director of IMB, said, "I would like to congratulate Colin and the team for this important piece of research. It brings us a step closer to understanding the nucleus and to developing new treatments for common diseases. It could be particularly relevant for Singapore, as we, like other developed nations, are facing an ageing population, and heart failure, vascular disease and muscle wasting all increase with age."

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 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ 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 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

A*STAR Findings on Breast Cancer Hold Potential for New Treatments
Computational techniques to increase understanding of diseases and improve patient treatments.
Friday, October 30, 2015
A*STAR Scientists Discover Gene Critical for Proper Brain Development
This gene accounts for the size of the human brain and potentially our superior cognitive abilities.
Friday, December 26, 2014
Gene Associated with an Aggressive Breast Cancer Identified
Over-expressed gene in triple negative breast cancer offers new diagnostics for risk assessment.
Wednesday, December 03, 2014
Novel Gene Predicts Both Breast Cancer Relapse and Response to Chemotherapy
A predictive marker discovered by scientists at A*STAR and NUS could help doctors classify breast cancer patients for more effective treatment.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
New Tool to Study Critical Protein Interaction in Cancer Research
A*STAR scientists used fluorescent molecular rotors to study protein-protein interactions involving p53 and MDM2 in cells.
Thursday, July 03, 2014
New Possibilities for Leukaemia Therapy with a Novel Mode of Cancer Cell Recognition
A new class of lipids in human leukaemia cells trigger an immune response to kill the cells.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Nature and Nurture: Baby's Development is Affected by Genes and Conditions in the Womb
First attempt to discover how genetic and environmental factors affect the human epigenome.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Elephant Shark Genome Provides New Insights into Bone Formation in Humans
A*STAR-led international consortium completely decodes the first shark-family member genome.
Thursday, January 09, 2014
A*STAR Scientists Discover Novel Hormone Essential for Heart Development
This unusual discovery could aid cardiac repair and provide new therapies to common heart diseases and hypertension.
Friday, December 06, 2013
A*STAR and NUS Launch Joint Centre
The S$148 million centre will study the role of nutrition and early development in health and disease in Asia.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Scientists Find a Promising Way To Boost The Body’s Immune Surveillance Via p53
Researchers at A*STAR have discovered a new mechanism involving p53, the famous tumour suppressor, to fight against aggressive cancers.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Singapore Scientists Discover New RNA Processing Pathway Important in hESCs
Discovery of RNA regulator could lead to a better understanding of diseases like cancer and influenza.
Monday, September 09, 2013
Scientists at GIS Discover Gene that Controls the Birth of Neurons
Discovery of long non-coding RNA's role in neurogenesis may lead to cures for diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
A*STAR Scientist Alex Matter Awarded Prestigious Szent-Gyorgyi Prize For Progress In Cancer Research
National Foundation for Cancer Research honours Professor Alex Matter with esteemed award for groundbreaking cancer pill that gives leukaemia patients a new lease of life.
Friday, April 05, 2013
A*STAR's GIS Collaborates with GSK to Further Research on Lung Cancer
Partnership will advance both organizations' joint efforts towards finding a cure for the disease.
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Scientific News
Revolutionary Technologies Developed to Improve Outcomes for Lung Cancer Patients
Breath test to detect lung cancer brings oxygen directly to the wound.
Dementia Linked to Deficient DNA Repair
Mutant forms of breast cancer factor 1 (BRCA1) are associated with breast and ovarian cancers but according to new findings, in the brain the normal BRCA1 gene product may also be linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
New Gene Map Reveals Cancer’s Achilles’ Heel
Team of researchers switches off almost 18,000 genes
New Discovery Sheds Light on Disease Risk
Gaps between genes interact to influence the risk of acquiring disease.
Mathematical Model Helps Show How Zebrafish Get Their Stripes
The iconic yellow and blue stripes of zebrafish form dynamically as young fish develop and grow. A mathematical model developed by Brown University researchers helps to show how pigment cells interact to form the pattern.
Epigenome Influenced by Habitat and Lifestyle
Study on Pygmy hunter-gatherer populations and Bantu farmers in Central Africa shows that habitat and lifestyle can impact the epigenome.
Shining Light on Microbial Growth and Death Inside our Guts
Precise measurement of microbial populations in gastrointestinal tracts could be key to identifying novel therapies.
New Tech Vastly Improves CRISPR/Cas9 Accuracy
A new CRISPR/Cas9 technology developed by scientists at UMass Medical School is precise enough to surgically edit DNA at nearly any genomic location, while avoiding potentially harmful off-target changes typically seen in standard CRISPR gene editing techniques.
New Class of RNA Tumor Suppressors Identified
Two short, “housekeeping” RNA molecules block cancer growth by binding to an important cancer-associated protein called KRAS. More than a quarter of all human cancers are missing these RNAs.
Biologists Induce Flatworms to Grow Heads and Brains of Other Species
Findings shed light on role of a new kind of epigenetic signaling in evolution, could yield clues for understanding birth defects and regeneration.
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
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
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos