Thursday, November 12, 2015

Cells Compact DNA When Oxygen Starved

In a recent study, researchers and scientists from the Institute of Molecular Biology at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany have discovered that when a cell suffers from hypoxia or lack of nutrients, the DNA in the nucleus packs tightly together and forms clumps instead of being loose when the cell is not being starved of these. If this happens and blood flow is restricted like in cases such as a heart attack or stroke, the gene-reading molecules will not be able to access the genetic code which will then cause the cell to stop working.

These scientists used a new technique, called single-molecule localization microscopy, in order to look inside mammal cells to see their chromatin complexes in order to find locations of each DNA molecule in the cell. This is done by using blinking dyes that bind to DNA. The chromatin complexes are looked at since chromatin tightly packs together DNA and proteins. When the chromatin becomes restricted and compacted when there is low oxygen and nutrient levels, transcription is reduced. Along with transcription being reduced, the mobility of linker histone H1 is also reduced. By looking at the results of this technique, different ways in which to stop the DNA from compacting can be more easily found.

The two articles that deal with this study that I found were very interesting, seeing as though a heart attack or stroke victim can still deal with more things detrimental to their health even though they survived the event. Knowing that the DNA compacts when oxygen and nutrient deprived, scientists and researchers can now work to prevent it from happening. These events happen every day to people around the world and to know something now that we did not know years or even months before the study was completed is a huge step forward in the right direction in making the long-term damage as short as possible.

Click here for the original article

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