Genes

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Genes

Postby bromley » Thu Jun 01, 2006 11:23 am

Dear all,

It is generally accepted that MS is a result of genetic susceptibility and an environmental trigger (perhaps a virus). At the EBV Think Tank I attended, Professor George Ebers talked about his work on identifying the genes involved in MS. I was still confused by the relative importance of the susceptibility genes and the environmental trigger, as a recent study of childhood MS in Canada suggested that the environmental factor was more important. Professor Ebers provided a detailed response to my e-mail. The key points highlighted were:

It isn't necessarily helpful to compare the relative contributions of
genes and environment here as they may be inseparable and interactive
rather than simply additive and we have strong evidence this will be the
case.


The gene story is nearing solution it seems and similarly for
the timing and site of the environmental interaction.


I found the last comment encouraging and it fitted with the transcript I posted from the NMSS MS Awareness Week where Dr David Hafler from Harvard Medical School, and also inolved in identifying MS genes said:

I hope within the next year to be able to give you a list of variants of genes that cause your disease and allow us to come up with new ways of targeting those genes.


By the end of the year, Serono say that they will have completed their MS gene search.

Genetics is well beyond my very limited medical knowledge, but it looks as if this is another area where big advances are being made and which might lead to better treatments.

Ian
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Postby Jaded » Fri Jun 02, 2006 9:47 am

Hi Ian

I have just read a couple of posts - the one on genes and the possible viral cause which Dunman posted.

I'm unsure how to feel...what do you make of all this? Are they really so close to working out the mystery of MS? I am too scared to be hopeful.

Being the site expert, what do you think of it?

H.
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Postby bromley » Fri Jun 02, 2006 11:11 am

Jaded,

I'm not expert - I'm just a pest.

I e-mailed Prof Ebers to ask about the genes work going on in the US. He said:

We think there is a better approach than
hapmap and we shall see how it works out but it is all happening very
fast now.


I think we will get some answers on the genes side fairly soon.

Fingers crossed that progress is being made.

Ian
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Postby dignan » Wed Jun 14, 2006 7:37 am

Bromley,
I wonder if this is the approach that's better than the HapMap...



Proteome researchers map the entire active protein inventory in cells

Cells are like small cities. They contain all the necessary parts that allow their infrastructure, function, growth, and communication to operate. For over a century scientists have been looking at the structures and organelles in cells using microscopic methods, and then drawing conclusions about their function. Biochemical methods have allowed scientists to examine the inner life of the cell, an organisational unit basic to all life. Now, they are clarifying its structures in detail: from mitochondria, the "factories" of cells, which create energy; to the endoplasmic reticulum, necessary for protein synthesis and metabolic processes; to the Golgi apparatus, responsible for lipid synthesis and producing important energy reserves for cell growth.

Scientists have shown how cutting-edge methods can be used to catalogue the entire inventory of active proteins in cell organelles at a particular moment. Their work sheds considerable light on how cells use proteins. The work is published in the journal Cell.


Now scientists led by Matthias Mann have specialised in identifying individual proteins in protein complexes. Proteins have various functions in a cell, from transport to mechanical support. As enzymes, they catalyse all kinds of metabolic processes. They are also important components of signal chains, like those which transmit information from the exterior of the cell to its nucleus. In this way, proteins also control the transcription of genetic information and the synthesis of new proteins that comes with it.

In this study, the proteome researchers looked at liver cells in mice. Using mass spectrometry, and by comparing databases, the scientists were able to detect more than 1400 proteins, localised in ten different cell compartments. Previous analyses had shown that certain proteins assign themselves clearly to particular cell organelles. When the scientists took the protein complex apart, these proteins were used as markers. Proteins which appear together with these marker-proteins could now also be assigned their proper place in the inventory. This method, called protein correlation profiling, was developed by Matthias Mann and his colleagues, and has previously been successfully used to determine the composition of single cell-organelle protein.

After the individual "compartments" for the proteins were identified, the scientists compared corresponding protein sets of individual cell organelles. Among the 1400 different proteins that can be clearly mapped onto individual cell organs, around 40% of them also appear in other cell organs. This result can be compared with studies on yeast cells. Their proteins have stayed "true" to their cell organelles over the course of evolution. Their localisation has apparently remained stable over almost a billion years, as simple organisms evolved all the way to mammals.

These results are a milestone in cell biology. Matthias Mann says, "for the first time, we are able to determine where exactly in the cell large numbers of proteins belong. It allows a new understanding of their function and interaction with other cellular proteins and cell organelles." The researchers hope that protein correlation profiling will allow them to determine which proteins participate in failures of regulation. This could contribute to research into diseases which occur when communication between cells is disturbed.

Source: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft

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Postby robbie » Wed Jun 14, 2006 8:02 am

lets get out there and raise some more money for research they are so close....
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Postby bromley » Wed Jun 14, 2006 8:37 am

Dignan,

I'm not sure - but I know of three projects looking at MS genes (two in the UK and one in the US). I imagine there are more. It's a bit like the space race and I'm fairly sure that we'll see some results before the year is up.

Robbie,

Isn't it a bit early in the day to be hitting the beer? :)


Ian
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Postby robbie » Wed Jun 14, 2006 8:59 am

just wait Ian it's a long ride
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