Enzyme key to 'sister act' that maintains genome stability

Jul 10, 2008

Keeping the genome stable is a "sister act" of matched chromatids – the pairs of the double helix DNA molecule that exist during the chromosome duplication in the S phase of the cell cycle.

Maintaining the chromatids in their sister pairs rests with Eco1, a kind of enzyme known as an acetyltransferase. Now researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, in a collaboration of two laboratories, have shown that Eco1 and its human homologue maintain sister chromatid cohesion and thus genome stability through a chemical process called acetylation that affects Smc3, one of the key components of the cohesion protein complex. A report on their work appears in the current online issue of the journal Molecular Cell.

This activity is critical to maintaining the stability of the cell's genome and its survival, said Dr. Jun Qin, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and molecular and cellular biology at BCM and a senior author of the report.

"If a cell lacks this acetyltransferase activity, it's dead," said Dr. Xuewen Pan, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and molecular and human genetics at BCM and also a senior author.

"This is critical for genome stability, cell growth and organism survival," said Qin.

"The collaboration in this work was important," he said. His laboratory carried out the work in human cells, and Pan's did the work in yeast.

"We pooled the resources of our two laboratories and took advantage of the power of the genetics in yeast and the power of proteomics and cell biology in the human. If a single labor had worked on this project, we would not have as complete a story," Qin said.

Source: Baylor College of Medicine

Explore further: New guide to the genetic jungle of muscles can help health research

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

How photosynthesis changed the planet

Nov 20, 2014

Two and a half billion years ago, single-celled organisms called cyanobacteria harnessed sunlight to split water molecules, producing energy to power their cells and releasing oxygen into an atmosphere that ...

Some plants regenerate by duplicating their DNA

Nov 11, 2014

When munched by grazing animals (or mauled by scientists in the lab), some herbaceous plants overcompensate - producing more plant matter and becoming more fertile than they otherwise would. Scientists say ...

First genome of an Antarctic notothenioid fish sequenced

Nov 10, 2014

Northeastern professor H. William Detrich is part of an international research team that has sequenced the first genome of an Antarctic notothenioid fish. The breakthrough, he said, will shed light on the ...

From strangers to mates in 15 minutes

Nov 06, 2014

Ah, to be a fruit fly. No meddling matchmakers, creepy dates or frog kissing. Females process the sights, smell, sounds and touch of love to choose Mr. Right in 15 minutes. Researchers at Case Western Reserve ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.