Complexity of Animals Depends On Diverse Patterns of Gene Regulation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Colin Sharpe

School of Biology
Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science
School of Biological Sciences
University of Portsmouth
Portsmouth, United Kingdom 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We have long been fascinated by the question of what underpins the increasing complexity of multicellular animals. In a recent publication we looked at changes to the diversity of the NCoR family corepressors (NCoRs) across the Deuterostomes and found an increase in diversity from sea urchins to humans (1). This is due to gene duplication, an increase in alternative splicing and the encorporation of more protein motifs and domains.

In this study we devised a measure of functional diversity based on these three factors and calculated this value for over 12000 genes involved in transcription in nine species from the nematode worm to humans. Orthologues whose increase in diversity correlated with the increase in complexity of these animals were then selected and we looked for common features and interactions between the selected genes.

We found that proteins that regulate the dynamic organisation of chromatin were significantly enriched within the selection.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: The complexity of animals will depend on the generation of more diverse patterns of gene regulation. Much of this will rely on key genes acquiring more enhancers to drive these patterns of expression. However, we suggest that increases in the functional diversity of certain proteins, also contribute to animal complexity.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: In the future we would like to extend this analysis by considering the full complement of genes in the genome, not just those involved in transcription.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? Any disclosures?

Response: We appreciate the vast amount of information from many labs that has been added to websites such as Ensembl in recent years that enable this type of analysis.

  1. Short, S. J., Peterkin, T., Guille, M. J., Patient, R. & Sharpe, C. R.(2015). Short linear motif acquisition, exon formation and alternative splicing determine a pathway to diversity for NCoR-family co-repressors. Open Biology.5, 8
  2. Lopes Cardoso, D and Sharpe, C. (2017). Relating protein functional diversity to cell type number identifies genes that determine dynamic aspects of chromatin organisation as potential contributors to organismal complexity. PLoS ONE 12(9): e0185409.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Relating protein functional diversity to cell type number identifies genes that determine dynamic aspects of chromatin organisation as potential contributors to organismal complexity
Daniela Lopes Cardoso, Colin Sharpe
Published: September 25, 2017 https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0185409

PLOS ONE http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0185409

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

 

 

 

 

 

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