Disordered protein ‘shape shifts’ to avoid crowding, study suggests.

Scientists have brought physics and biology together to further understand how cells’ crowded surfaces induce complex protein behavior. Their findings suggest that a disordered protein, called alpha-synuclein, partially escapes from the cell membrane when it runs out of space.

/…/ Cells are crowded places, and many biophysicists have studied the effects of such crowding on the structural features of biological molecules, such as proteins. These studies tend to be done in three dimensions, with proteins suspended in a dilute solution and crowded from all sides. The new research brought scientists closer to understanding how crowding on the two-dimensional surface of a cell membrane can influence protein biophysics and function.

read the article.. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160916093025.htm


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New software helps to find out why ‘jumping genes’ are activated.

The genome is not a fixed code but flexible. It allows changes in the genes. Transposons, however, so-called jumping genes, interpret this flexibility in a much freer way than “normal” genes. They reproduce in the genome and chose their position themselves. Transposons can also jump into a gene and render it inoperative. Thus, they are an important distinguishing mark for the development of different organisms, report scientists.

read the full article.. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160916093034.htm


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Advancing ‘transposon theory of aging’.

A new study increases and strengthens the links that have led scientists to propose the “transposon theory of aging.” Transposons are rogue elements of DNA that break free in aging cells and rewrite themselves elsewhere in the genome, potentially creating lifespan-shortening chaos in the genetic makeups of tissues.

As cells get older, prior studies have shown, tightly wound heterochromatin wrapping that typically imprisons transposons becomes looser, allowing them to slip out of their positions in chromosomes and move to new ones, disrupting normal cell function. Meanwhile, scientists have shown that potentially related interventions, such as restricting calories or manipulating certain genes, can demonstrably lengthen lifespans in laboratory animals.

read the full article.. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160916133100.htm


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