Friday, November 20, 2015

Cells compact their DNA when starved of oxygen, nutrients

    Many diseases like a heart attackstroke, and cancer can cause long-term effects to the body. Because there is lack of blood supply to the heart and brain, it causes the cells to be deprived of oxygen and nutrients. This condition is also known as Ischemia and oxygen starvation as hypoxia.

    In a new study, researchers reveal that when cells undergo starvation of oxygen, the DNA in the nucleus becomes compacted. The DNA compresses into tight clumps, which prevents gene-reading molecules from accessing the genetic code. This is a factor to why disease like a heart attack or stroke can occur because the cell eventually stops functioning.

   Scientists are now using new technology to figure out ways to prevent DNA from compressing. The new technology is a development of super-resolution light microscopy. Since the genetic code is tightly packed inside of the chromatin, scientists do not yet have the technology to look at the nanostructures of chromatin. Instead they use a dye that binds to the DNA and the dye allows them to look inside and around the chromatin and define the location of molecules in the DNA.

"What is interesting to me is the cause of the cell to stop functioning. Because the DNA becomes compressed into tight clumps, it is hard for the gene-reading molecules to access the genetic code. If the genetic code is not accessed, then there is no protein built, which could possibly code for a specific function. If there is no cell function, then the cell will die. This makes me think what causes a cell to undergo starvation? If there is treatment to keep the cells from starvation, then the DNA will not compress."

Click HERE for the article!

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