Apparently, genes communicate with each other to control how a given cell manufactures proteins. Duke University Medical Center geneticists and neuroscientists say that variation in the control of the same gene in two different tissues may influence certain human traits, inclusive of even getting a disease.
The researchers made use of a genome-wide screen to look for single-nucleotide changes. They apparently discovered that the expression of the gene, the level of protein that it produces, can vary significantly.
Senior author, David Goldstein, Ph.D., Professor of molecular genetics and microbiology and director of the Center for Human Genome Variation at Duke’s Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy (IGSP), says that the researchers apparently concluded that the study of brain tissues may prove to be more helpful while analyzing neuro-psychiatric diseases.
Goldstein says, “This is not something that has generally been done. People have been looking at gene expression and splicing in blood cells, because these are easy to obtain and work with, yet they are trying to ask what the implications might be for diseases that do not affect the tissue they are studying.” He goes on, “biology is more complicated than that. A genetic variant might influence the expression of a gene or the type of protein that is made because of splicing changes, in brain cells but not in blood cells, or in blood cells but not brain cells.”
The study author’s examined the blood and brain tissues, because they apparently expected to notice dissimilarities. Heinzen says, “I was surprised because I didn’t expect the differences to be as dramatic as they were, between the tissues.” She assumes that the findings of tissue specificity to apply to the other types of tissues as well.
Apparently, other scientists have revealed that splicing is highly regulated in a tissue-specific manner. Unlike them, the authors state that their study findings have revealed that genetic variation has an effect on it in such a way that is applicable to the disease.
It’s said that scientist usually level the gene activity by the amount of protein that it has produced. Goldstein says that, this study examines not only the amount of protein produced, but also the quality of protein produced.
Their findings are published in the online version of PLoS Biology.