A New Tech for Gene Study
Blog Apr 20, 2016
Scientists from the North Carolina School of Medicine have developed a new technology for gene studies, making the process of gene research much easier without gene knockout while bringing higher accuracy. The tech applies an optogenetic tool to mark and control proteins.
The traditional method for learning what a gene codes for it tracking the protein it relies on to express its character, however, identifying the protein can be quite sophisticated as it can’t be targeted at the very first time and need to track several proteins. The new tech involves employing the laser to manipulate the movement of proteins after the protein is labeled with light-responsive switches.
With the laser control, proteins can be moved to the cytoplasm from the cell nucleus and out of its normal function, then if the gene related activities change or disappear, the protein would match the gene, eliminating the complicated process of knocking out the gene of interest which is much more difficult than manipulating proteins.
The new technology avoids the problem that cells get used to the lives without a certain gene before the target gene is really picked out. Besides, it provides more access for experiment time.
The research team found the early version of the tech from a plant protein AsLOV2 whose activities are influenced by light. When in light, the protein will be released into cytoplasm from nucleus. Then they applied the mechanism into animal cells. Researchers embedded a light switch in protein LexA and Bre1, and things went in the same way with the previously plant protein. After being exposed to light, the proteins were released from the neucleus.
Another great finding from this research is that the cellular activities are much stronger than that was thought in the past.
The study paper is published in the journal of Nature Chemical Biology, titled as Light-induced nuclear export reveals rapid dynamics of epigenetic modifications, with DOI number being 10.1038/nchembio.2068, and can be accessed at Nature Chemical Biology with closed entry.
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