Navigation Links
Observing live gene expression in the body
Date:6/30/2013

Most of our physiological functions fluctuate throughout the day. They are coordinated by a central clock in the brain and by local oscillators, present in virtually every cell. Many molecular gearwheels of this internal clock have been described by Ueli Schibler, professor at the Faculty of Science of the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland. To study how the central clock synchronizes subordinate oscillators, the researcher's group used a variety of genetic and technological tools developed in collaboration with a team of UNIGE physicians. In this way, the scientists were able to directly observe the bioluminescence emitted by 'clock genes' in mice for several months. This biotechnology is applicable to numerous sectors of biomedical research, which attracted the attention of the editors from the journal "Genes & Development".

In mammals, there are many behaviors and biological functions that are regulated by internal clocks. Most of our cells have one, made from a family of 'clock genes', whose cyclic activity reaches a specific peak in 24 hours. These local oscillators are synchronized by a central 'pacemaker' in the brain which adjusts to light.

The firefly lights the way

The use of genetic engineering techniques enabled the study of molecular mechanisms that activate clock genes directly in cultured mammalian cells: 'We have coupled several of these genes to that of luciferase, the enzyme used by the female firefly for producing green light to attract males,' explained Ueli Schibler, member of the National Research Center Frontiers in Genetics. When a specific clock gene is activated in a cell that was transformed in this way, the light signal emitted can be measured using a highly sensitive bioluminescence detector. However, this device, which is capable of detecting signals on the order of a few photons, cannot be used for studying whole organisms. The contribution of Andr Liani's mechanical workshop, along with Jean-Pierre Wolf's and Luigi Bonacina's teams from UNIGE's Group of Applied Physics, was thus essential. These scientists developed a customized device that can accommodate mice for several months: 'We equipped it with reflective walls to deflect photons toward a highly sensitive photomultiplier tube to capture bioluminescence,' says Andr Liani.

Follow the daily expression of clock genes live

In collaboration with the University of Ulm and the Center for Integrative Genomics (CIG) of Lausanne, the biologists studied how the central clock synchronizes subordinate oscillators in mice. Various clock genes, coupled with the luciferase gene for light emission, were inserted into liver cells using a molecular vector. The time these rodents spent in the bioluminescent device allowed to demonstrate that the central clock generates signals, some of which act directly on the liver oscillators, and others which synchronize them indirectly by controlling the cycles of food intake.

or the effect of a medication in mice

'This technology enables a drastic reduction in the number of mice needed for this type of experiment, and furthermore, it is applicable to many areas of biomedical research,' says Camille Saini, researcher in the Department of Molecular Biology at UNIGE and first author of this article. These complementary genetic and engineering technology tools could be used to directly follow certain biochemical effects of metabolites like cholesterol or glucose, as well as the response to potential treatments of diseases such as hypercholesterolemia or diabetes. Monitoring the response to various hormones, neurotransmitters and other biochemical messengers is also part of this application range.


'/>"/>

Contact: Ueli Schibler
ueli.schibler@unige.ch
41-223-796-175
Universit de Genve
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. IU biologists offer clearer picture of how protein machine systems tweak gene expression
2. A new application allows online statistical analysis of gene-expression data
3. Measuring progesterone receptor expression to improve hormone-receptor-positive cancer management
4. Fish show autism-like gene expression in water with psychoactive pharmaceuticals
5. Controlling gene expression with hydrogen peroxide switches
6. Molecular economics: New computer models calculate systems-wide costs of gene expression
7. Controlling gene expression: How chromatin remodelers block a histone pass
8. Study finds how BPA affects gene expression, anxiety; Soy mitigates effects
9. Nutrient in eggs and meat may influence gene expression from infancy to adulthood
10. Whitehead scientists identify major flaw in standard approach to global gene expression analysis
11. Oxidative stress and altered gene expression occurs in a metabolic liver disease model
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/3/2017)... April 3, 2017  Data captured by ... platform, detected a statistically significant association between ... to treatment and objective response of cancer ... to predict whether cancer patients will respond ... as well as to improve both pre-infusion potency ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... March 29, 2017  higi, the health IT company ... North America , today announced a Series ... acquisition of EveryMove. The new investment and acquisition accelerates ... tools to transform population health activities through the collection ... higi collects and secures data today on ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... - Industry Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Biometric Vehicle ... around 15.1% over the next decade to reach approximately $1,580 million ... estimates and forecasts for all the given segments on global as ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/26/2017)... ... April 26, 2017 , ... WonderWorks, ... NASA to showcase the future of deep space exploration and inspire space enthusiasts. ... Orion spacecraft and includes a guest appearance by former Shuttle Astronaut Don Thomas. ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... April 26, 2017 , ... ... headlines and drive high-level conversations among healthcare industry stakeholders, the discussion surrounding the ... – taking place May 15-18, 2017 in Los Angeles, Calif. Hosted by the ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... April 25, 2017 Providence ... licensed its novel immune-modulating technology to an undisclosed global ... allergy. Tregitopes, pronounced T·rej·itopes, are a ... by EpiVax CEO Annie De Groot ... immunoglobulin G, an autoimmune disease therapy, Tregitopes are ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... NEW YORK , April 24, 2017  Dante Labs ... interpretation at only EUR 850 (ca. $900). While American individuals ... marks the first time Europeans can access WGS below EUR ... which are crucial to leveraging genetic information to make informed ... more. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: