New strategy to give fingerprint for genes involved in endocytosis

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London, Mar 6 (ANI): By applying a new strategy, researchers at Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics can now identify and characterize genes involved in endocytosis.

Endocytosis is the process by which cells ingest substances from the external environment. If affected, it can lead to infectious diseases or cardio-vascular diseases, cancer, Huntington's and diabetes.

For the new approach, a combination of high-resolution microscopy and quantitative image analysis enabled the scientists to investigate the effects of a large number of genes.

From their findings the scientists also hope to derive significant information about how infections could be prevented and diseases treated in future.

The new investigation strategy provided the scientists with previously unimagined insights into the highly complicated processes that take place in the cell.

For example, the researchers discovered in their images that a failure of certain genes cause the arrest of vesicles in the cell periphery rather than being transported to the centre of the cell.

In addition, different substances such as nutrients and growth factors are apparently guided to their destination by different set of genes and endocytosis is controlled by various signalling pathways.

At the same time, the cells use endocytosis to carefully adjust the quantity of signal molecules on the cell membrane and in the endosomes - endocytosis and signalling pathways thus influence each other.

Overall, more than 4,000 genes are directly or indirectly involved in endocytosis.

"Our findings demonstrate that cells don't simply go out and ingest just any substances, handling them in the same manner. On the contrary, they have a very precise definition of what they need when and in what quantity, and also where it needs to get to in the cell," Nature quoted Marino Zerial, Director at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, as saying.

The study has been published in Nature. (ANI)

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