Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > The nanoscopic structure that locks up our genes

Made up of nucleosomes -- roll-shaped bundles of DNA and protein -- heterochromatin is connected by a velcro-like feature called Heterochromatin Protein 1.
CREDIT
(Image: Yoshimasa Takizawa/OIST)
Made up of nucleosomes -- roll-shaped bundles of DNA and protein -- heterochromatin is connected by a velcro-like feature called Heterochromatin Protein 1. CREDIT (Image: Yoshimasa Takizawa/OIST)

Abstract:
Wireless headphones, two yo-yos connected by a string, earmuffs: all these items could be used to describe a tiny structure inside a cell's nucleus. For decades, scientists could only speculate about the shape of heterochromatin, a type of chromatin--which consists of tightly packed DNA and proteins. Recently, however, researchers from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Graduate University (OIST) and Waseda University have been able to define its structure thanks to new, high-contrast imaging in cryo-electron microscopy. Their work appears this January in the journal Molecular Cell.

The nanoscopic structure that locks up our genes

Okinawa, Japan | Posted on January 16th, 2018

The new research shows that, although tightly packed, heterochromatin is perhaps less dense than previously thought. Made up of nucleosomes--roll-shaped bundles of DNA and protein--the heterochromatin is connected by a velcro-like feature called "Heterochromatin Protein 1 (HP1)." This fundamental feature allows the body to "lock down" genes so they cannot be transcribed.

"Life as we know it relies on these principles," said Matthias Wolf, one of the leading authors of the paper and head of the Molecular Cryo-Electron Microscopy Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Graduate University (OIST).

"This work is an example of a very fruitful collaboration, which would not have been possible by any of the research groups alone," said Hitoshi Kurumizaka, the leading author of the study at Waseda University. There, along with Shinichi Machida, an assistant professor at Waseda and co-first author on the paper, researchers successfully purified heterochromatin in vitro. Researchers at OIST imaged these samples in glass-like amorphous ice, which contains hundreds of pieces of heterochromatin, under a cryo-electron microscope.

Using a computer algorithm to classify individual particles by type, the scientists "cut out" those particles facing in the same direction. Then, they stacked these digital cutouts atop one another, combining hundreds of images to create a clearer picture. Wolf demonstrated the concept by placing his hands atop each other.

"If everything fits perfectly then the thumbs and all the fingers align," he said, "and you get higher resolution."

Based on these images, Wolf and his colleagues created three-dimensional reconstructions of the heterochromatin. Because of the structure's flexibility, it was difficult to get a precise idea of its shape, said Yoshimasa Takizawa, group leader of the unit and co-first author on the paper. Takizawa collected hundreds of thousands of images of individual particles to obtain better resolution.

"We were surprised at how it looked," he said of the heterochromatin's shape, "but this could be consistent with other functions, like the binding of other proteins to exposed DNA."

In the future, the researchers hope to use their knowledge to understand higher order structures, like entire strings of nucleosomes.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Kaoru Natori

81-989-662-389

Copyright © Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST)

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Reports Inducement Grants under NASDAQ Marketplace Rule 5635(c)(4) June 22nd, 2019

Next-gen solar cells spin in new direction: Phosphorene shows efficiency promise June 21st, 2019

Researchers report new understanding of thermoelectric materials: Discovery leads to promising new materials for converting waste heat to power June 21st, 2019

Millions with neurological diseases could find new option in implantable neurostimulation devices June 21st, 2019

Imaging

New Video Highlights Specific Topics Sought in Call for Papers for the 2019 IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) June 13th, 2019

2D crystals conforming to 3D curves create strain for engineering quantum devices June 7th, 2019

New Argonne coating could have big implications for lithium batteries May 14th, 2019

Better microring sensors for optical applications May 10th, 2019

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Next-gen solar cells spin in new direction: Phosphorene shows efficiency promise June 21st, 2019

Ice lithography: opportunities and challenges in 3D nanofabrication June 21st, 2019

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Receives Orphan Drug Designation for ARO-APOC3 June 21st, 2019

Electron-behaving nanoparticles rock current understanding of matter: Discovery will lead to new methods for materials design June 20th, 2019

Possible Futures

'Nanoemulsion' gels offer new way to deliver drugs through the skin: Novel materials made with FDA-approved components could deliver large payloads of active ingredients June 21st, 2019

Next-gen solar cells spin in new direction: Phosphorene shows efficiency promise June 21st, 2019

Researchers report new understanding of thermoelectric materials: Discovery leads to promising new materials for converting waste heat to power June 21st, 2019

Millions with neurological diseases could find new option in implantable neurostimulation devices June 21st, 2019

Nanomedicine

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Reports Inducement Grants under NASDAQ Marketplace Rule 5635(c)(4) June 22nd, 2019

'Nanoemulsion' gels offer new way to deliver drugs through the skin: Novel materials made with FDA-approved components could deliver large payloads of active ingredients June 21st, 2019

Millions with neurological diseases could find new option in implantable neurostimulation devices June 21st, 2019

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Receives Orphan Drug Designation for ARO-APOC3 June 21st, 2019

Discoveries

'Nanoemulsion' gels offer new way to deliver drugs through the skin: Novel materials made with FDA-approved components could deliver large payloads of active ingredients June 21st, 2019

Next-gen solar cells spin in new direction: Phosphorene shows efficiency promise June 21st, 2019

Ice lithography: opportunities and challenges in 3D nanofabrication June 21st, 2019

Researchers report new understanding of thermoelectric materials: Discovery leads to promising new materials for converting waste heat to power June 21st, 2019

Announcements

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Reports Inducement Grants under NASDAQ Marketplace Rule 5635(c)(4) June 22nd, 2019

Ice lithography: opportunities and challenges in 3D nanofabrication June 21st, 2019

Researchers report new understanding of thermoelectric materials: Discovery leads to promising new materials for converting waste heat to power June 21st, 2019

Millions with neurological diseases could find new option in implantable neurostimulation devices June 21st, 2019

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

'Nanoemulsion' gels offer new way to deliver drugs through the skin: Novel materials made with FDA-approved components could deliver large payloads of active ingredients June 21st, 2019

Next-gen solar cells spin in new direction: Phosphorene shows efficiency promise June 21st, 2019

Ice lithography: opportunities and challenges in 3D nanofabrication June 21st, 2019

Electron-behaving nanoparticles rock current understanding of matter: Discovery will lead to new methods for materials design June 20th, 2019

Tools

Millions with neurological diseases could find new option in implantable neurostimulation devices June 21st, 2019

University of Aberdeen use the Deben CT5000 to observe compressive damage mechanisms in syntactic foam June 14th, 2019

2D crystals conforming to 3D curves create strain for engineering quantum devices June 7th, 2019

nPoint piezo driven nanopositioning flexure stages now available from Elliot Scientific June 4th, 2019

Grants/Sponsored Research/Awards/Scholarships/Gifts/Contests/Honors/Records

'Nanoemulsion' gels offer new way to deliver drugs through the skin: Novel materials made with FDA-approved components could deliver large payloads of active ingredients June 21st, 2019

Next-gen solar cells spin in new direction: Phosphorene shows efficiency promise June 21st, 2019

Ice lithography: opportunities and challenges in 3D nanofabrication June 21st, 2019

Electron-behaving nanoparticles rock current understanding of matter: Discovery will lead to new methods for materials design June 20th, 2019

Nanobiotechnology

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Reports Inducement Grants under NASDAQ Marketplace Rule 5635(c)(4) June 22nd, 2019

'Nanoemulsion' gels offer new way to deliver drugs through the skin: Novel materials made with FDA-approved components could deliver large payloads of active ingredients June 21st, 2019

Millions with neurological diseases could find new option in implantable neurostimulation devices June 21st, 2019

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Receives Orphan Drug Designation for ARO-APOC3 June 21st, 2019

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project