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“Nano footballs” Control our Genes

12 months ago

3203  0
Posted on Oct 16, 2017, 5 p.m.

These footballs seem to exhibit some big control over genes. 

Discovery of “nano footballs” by researchers at University of York in the United Kingdom, and the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, may ultimately help other researchers learn more about many different genetic disorders, even cancer. 

The so-called “Nano” footballs are some10 million times smaller than the average foot-ball even though they look alike. Even so, they seem to exhibit some big control over genes.

Genes are made from DNA, which has a double helix shape. Transcription factors act like a light switch, turning the gene on or off. Transcription factors (TF) are chemicals inside cells that activate or inactivate their genes. Very creatively, the scientists were able to tag transcription factors in cells with glowing markers. In so doing, they found that the TFs work in clusters of 7-10 molecules (~30 nanometers in diameter), not singularly as previously suspected. The researchers used super-resolution microscopy in real time to look at regular yeast cells just like what is used in baking and beer. They believe that the clustering of the TF allows for faster access to the gene.

Professor Mark Leake, Chair of Biological Physics at the University of York who led the work, called the ability to see molecules inside a cell was “breathtaking.” They were amazed that the TF clustered together as opposed to single molecules acting individually.

Professor Leake went on to say, the microscopic size and nature of the tiny footballs approximated the same size as the gaps in individual DNA strands inside the cell. DNA is tightly woven and compressed into the nucleus of a cell in a net-like manner. Apparently the nano-balls can roll along the DNA strands and jump around from one strand to another allowing it to locate the right gene for which it has been tasked. This ability also means that it can respond faster to outside signals to the benefit of the cell and the entire body.

Genes are constantly being turned on or off as the body demands; it is essential to life and living. When all goes well, the body thrives, but when it goes wrong serious problems occur. Abnormal switching can lead to abnormal (uncontrolled) growth or death of cells and therefore lead to cancer or other life-threatening diseases. 

When genes are activated in a cell, the digital-like genetic code converts it into a specialized protein molecule. Thousands of these protein molecules then go on to create various types of tissues in the body for life and health

This research is only the beginning using the most basic of cells – Yeast. Human trials are far away at this time but will eventually help us discover how cells and proteins differentiate.

University of York


Dr. Ronald Klatz, DO, MD President of the A4M has 28,000 Physician Members, has trained over 150,000 Physicians, health professionals and scientists in the new specialty of Anti-aging medicine. Estimates of their patients numbering in the 100’s of millions World Wide that are living better stronger, healthier and longer lives.

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