Nutrition and heredity are genetically linked

May 16, 2007

A challenging goal in biology is to understand how the principal cellular functions are integrated so that cells achieve viability and optimal fitness under a wide range of nutritional conditions. Scientists from the French research centers INRA and CNRS showed by genetic approaches that, in the model bacterium Bacillus subtilis, central carbon metabolism (which generates energy from nutrients) and replication (which synthesizes DNA), two key functions in the fields of nutrition and heredity, are tightly linked.

The results appear in the May 16th issue of the online, peer-reviewed, open-access journal PLoS ONE.

The discovered link involves the activity of a small region of the central carbon metabolism (the terminal reactions of a process called glycolysis that burns sugars) and several enzymes of the replication machinery that synthesizes DNA. It is proposed that the link depends on metabolic signals generated as a function of the activity of the terminal reactions of glycolysis which are sensed, directly or indirectly, by replication enzymes. This system would then adjust the speed of DNA synthesis and the stability of the replication machinery to the nutritional richness of the environment, and thus to the cell’s growth rate.

These results, along with those integrating metabolism and, for instance, transcription, apoptosis and nervous flux, suggest that the central carbon metabolism plays a global regulatory function to adjust the activity of principal cellular functions to the richness of the available nutrients. This non metabolic function may explain why several enzymes of the central carbon metabolism are essential and strongly conserved in living organisms.

In addition to its fundamental interest, the metabolism/replication link may be of medical importance as early events in carcinogenesis, which generally include an up-regulation of glycolysis (the Warburg effect) and a decrease in DNA stability and replication fidelity, may involve perturbations of the metabolism/replication link.

Source: Public Library of Science

Explore further: Warning coloration paved the way for louder, more complex calls in certain species of poisonous frogs

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Image: Galactic wheel of life shines in infrared

1 hour ago

It might look like a spoked wheel or even a "Chakram" weapon wielded by warriors like "Xena," from the fictional TV show, but this ringed galaxy is actually a vast place of stellar life. A newly released ...

Sex-loving, meat-eating reptiles have shorter lives

1 hour ago

The health risks and benefits of vegetarianism have long been discussed in relation to the human diet, but newly published research reveals that it's definitely of benefit to the reptile population. That, ...

Ericsson profit down 10 pct despite higher sales

1 hour ago

Wireless equipment maker Ericsson says its third-quarter earnings slumped 10 percent despite higher sales due to increased operating costs and negative effects from currency hedging.

Recommended for you

Cat dentals fill you with dread?

Oct 24, 2014

A survey published this year found that over 50% of final year veterinary students in the UK do not feel confident either in discussing orodental problems with clients or in performing a detailed examination of the oral cavity ...

User comments : 0