X
X
X

Filters:

How a Single Chemical Bond Balances Cells Between Life and Death

With SLAC's X-ray laser and synchrotron, scientists measured exactly how much energy goes into keeping a crucial chemical bond from triggering a cell's death spiral.

New Efficient, Low-Temperature Catalyst for Converting Water and CO to Hydrogen Gas and CO2

Scientists have developed a new low-temperature catalyst for producing high-purity hydrogen gas while simultaneously using up carbon monoxide (CO). The discovery could improve the performance of fuel cells that run on hydrogen fuel but can be poisoned by CO.

Study Sheds Light on How Bacterial Organelles Assemble

Scientists at Berkeley Lab and Michigan State University are providing the clearest view yet of an intact bacterial microcompartment, revealing at atomic-level resolution the structure and assembly of the organelle's protein shell. This work can help provide important information for research in bioenergy, pathogenesis, and biotechnology.

A Single Electron's Tiny Leap Sets Off 'Molecular Sunscreen' Response

In experiments at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists were able to see the first step of a process that protects a DNA building block called thymine from sun damage: When it's hit with ultraviolet light, a single electron jumps into a slightly higher orbit around the nucleus of a single oxygen atom.

Researchers Find New Mechanism for Genome Regulation

The same mechanisms that separate mixtures of oil and water may also help the organization of an unusual part of our DNA called heterochromatin, according to a new study by Berkeley Lab researchers. They found that liquid-liquid phase separation helps heterochromatin organize large parts of the genome into specific regions of the nucleus. The work addresses a long-standing question about how DNA functions are organized in space and time, including how genes are silenced or expressed.

The Rise of Giant Viruses

Research reveals that giant viruses acquire genes piecemeal from others, with implications for bioenergy production and environmental cleanup.

Grasses: The Secrets Behind Their Success

Researchers find a grass gene affecting how plants manage water and carbon dioxide that could be useful to growing biofuel crops on marginal land.

SLAC Experiment is First to Decipher Atomic Structure of an Intact Virus with an X-ray Laser

An international team of scientists has for the first time used an X-ray free-electron laser to unravel the structure of an intact virus particle on the atomic level. The method dramatically reduces the amount of virus material required, while also allowing the investigations to be carried out several times faster than before. This opens up entirely new research opportunities.

New Perspectives Into Arctic Cloud Phases

Teamwork provides insight into complicated cloud processes that are important to potential environmental changes in the Arctic.

Illuminating a Better Way to Calculate Excitation Energy

In a new study appearing this week in The Journal of Chemical Physics, researchers demonstrate a new method to calculate excitation energies. They used a new approach based on density functional methods, which use an atom-by-atom approach to calculate electronic interactions. By analyzing a benchmark set of small molecules and oligomers, their functional produced more accurate estimates of excitation energy compared to other commonly used density functionals, while requiring less computing power.


Filters:

Chicago Quantum Exchange to Create Technologically Transformative Ecosystem

The University of Chicago is collaborating with the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory to launch an intellectual hub for advancing academic, industrial and governmental efforts in the science and engineering of quantum information.

Department of Energy Awards Six Research Contracts Totaling $258 Million to Accelerate U.S. Supercomputing Technology

Today U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced that six leading U.S. technology companies will receive funding from the Department of Energy's Exascale Computing Project (ECP) as part of its new PathForward program, accelerating the research necessary to deploy the nation's first exascale supercomputers.

Cynthia Jenks Named Director of Argonne's Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division

Argonne has named Cynthia Jenks the next director of the laboratory's Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division. Jenks currently serves as the assistant director for scientific planning and the director of the Chemical and Biological Sciences Division at Ames Laboratory.

Argonne-Developed Technology for Producing Graphene Wins TechConnect National Innovation Award

A method that significantly cuts the time and cost needed to grow graphene has won a 2017 TechConnect National Innovation Award. This is the second year in a row that a team at Argonne's Center for Nanoscale Materials has received this award.

Honeywell UOP and Argonne Seek Research Collaborations in Catalysis Under Technologist in Residence Program

Researchers at Argonne are collaborating with Honeywell UOP scientists to explore innovative energy and chemicals production.

Follow the Fantastic Voyage of the ICARUS Neutrino Detector

The ICARUS neutrino detector, born at Gran Sasso National Lab in Italy and refurbished at CERN, will make its way across the sea to Fermilab this summer. Follow along using an interactive map online.

JSA Awards Graduate Fellowships for Research at Jefferson Lab

Jefferson Sciences Associates announced today the award of eight JSA/Jefferson Lab graduate fellowships. The doctoral students will use the fellowships to support their advanced studies at their universities and conduct research at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) - a U.S. Department of Energy nuclear physics laboratory managed and operated by JSA, a joint venture between SURA and PAE Applied Technologies.

Muon Magnet's Moment Has Arrived

On May 31, the 50-foot-wide superconducting electromagnet at the center of the Muon g-2 experiment saw its first beam of muon particles from Fermilab's accelerators, kicking off a three-year effort to measure just what happens to those particles when placed in a stunningly precise magnetic field. The answer could rewrite scientists' picture of the universe and how it works.

Seven Small Businesses to Collaborate with Argonne to Solve Technical Challenges

Seven small businesses have been selected to collaborate with researchers at Argonne to address technical challenges as part of DOE's Small Business Vouchers Program.

JSA Names Charles Perdrisat and Charles Sinclair as Co-Recipients of its 2017 Outstanding Nuclear Physicist Prize

Jefferson Science Associates, LLC, announced today that Charles Perdrisat and Charles Sinclair are the recipients of the 2017 Outstanding Nuclear Physicist Prize. The 2017 JSA Outstanding Nuclear Physicist Award is jointly awarded to Charles Perdrisat for his pioneering implementation of the polarization transfer technique to determine proton elastic form factors, and to Charles Sinclair for his crucial development of polarized electron beam technology, which made such measurements, and many others, possible.


Filters:

Oxygen: The Jekyll and Hyde of Biofuels

Scientists are devising ways to protect plants, biofuels and, ultimately, the atmosphere itself from damage caused by an element that sustains life on earth.

The Rise of Giant Viruses

Research reveals that giant viruses acquire genes piecemeal from others, with implications for bioenergy production and environmental cleanup.

Grasses: The Secrets Behind Their Success

Researchers find a grass gene affecting how plants manage water and carbon dioxide that could be useful to growing biofuel crops on marginal land.

New Perspectives Into Arctic Cloud Phases

Teamwork provides insight into complicated cloud processes that are important to potential environmental changes in the Arctic.

Mountaintop Plants and Soils to Become Out of Sync

Plants and soil microbes may be altered by climate warming at different rates and in different ways, meaning vital nutrient patterns could be misaligned.

If a Tree Falls in the Amazon

For the first time, scientists pinpointed how often storms topple trees, helping to predict how changes in Amazonia affect the world.

Turning Waste into Fuels, Microbial Style

A newly discovered metabolic process linking different bacteria in a community could enhance bioenergy production.

Department of Energy Awards Six Research Contracts Totaling $258 Million to Accelerate U.S. Supercomputing Technology

Today U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced that six leading U.S. technology companies will receive funding from the Department of Energy's Exascale Computing Project (ECP) as part of its new PathForward program, accelerating the research necessary to deploy the nation's first exascale supercomputers.

Electrifying Magnetism

Researchers create materials with controllable electrical and magnetic properties, even at room temperature.

One Step Closer to Practical Fast Charging Batteries

Novel electrode materials have designed pathways for electrons and ions during the charge/discharge cycle.


Finding a New Major Gene Expression Regulator in Fungi

Article ID: 674195

Released: 2017-05-04 21:00:45

Source Newsroom: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

  • Credit: ZyGoLife Research Consortium via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

    Linderina pennispora is one of the early-diverging fungi whose genomes were sequenced, annotated and analyzed for the study led by U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute researchers in the May 8, 2017 issue of Nature Genetics.

Just four letters – A, C, T, and G – make up an organism’s genetic code. Changing a single letter, or base, can lead to changes in protein structures and functions, impacting an organism’s traits. In addition, though, subtler changes can and do happen, involving modifications of the DNA bases themselves. The best-known example of this kind of change is a methylation of the base cytosine at the 5th position on its carbon ring (5mC). In eukaryotes, a less-well known modification involves adding a methyl group to base 6 of adenine (6mA).

In the May 8, 2017 issue of Nature Genetics, a team led by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI), a DOE Office of Science User Facility, report the prevalence of 6mA modifications in the earliest branches of the fungal kingdom. Though fungi have been around for a billion years and collectively are capable of degrading nearly all naturally-occurring polymers and even some human-made ones, most of the species that have been studied belong to just two phyla, the Ascomycota and Basidiomycota. The remaining 6 groups of fungi are classified as “early diverging lineages,” the earliest branches in fungal genealogy. They comprise a little-explored realm of fungi, providing a repertoire of important and valuable gene products for DOE missions in bioenergy and environment.

“By and large, early-diverging fungi are very poorly understood compared to other lineages. However, many of these fungi turn out to be important in a variety of ways,” said study first author and DOE JGI analyst Stephen Mondo. “Consider the Neocallimastigomycetes - these fungi are one of the most powerful degraders of plant biomass currently known and have a tremendous arsenal of plant cell wall degrading enzymes which may be useful for bioenergy production. They are a good example of how exploring these understudied lineages leads to valuable biological and technological insights.”

Many of the fungal genomes used in the study were sequenced as part of the DOE JGI’s 1000 Fungal Genomes initiative aimed at producing at least one reference genome for every family of fungi. For the study, the team used 16 fungal genomes sequenced at the DOE JGI using the Pacific Biosciences sequencing platform. While the technology was used with the goal of attaining very high quality genome assemblies, DOE JGI scientists have now additionally taken advantage of this sequencing platform to explore epigenetic (5mC, 6mA) modifications.  They discovered very high levels of 6mA in fungi, where up to 2.8% of all adenines were methylated,  confirming these findings using multiple independent methods. The previous record holder for genomic 6mA, noted Mondo, is the alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (sequenced and annotated by the DOE JGI), in which just 0.4% of adenines were methylated.

“This is one of the first direct comparisons of 6mA and 5mC in eukaryotes, and the first 6mA study across the fungal kingdom,” said DOE JGI Fungal Genomics head and senior author Igor Grigoriev. “6mA has been shown to have different functions depending on the organism. For example, in animals it is involved in suppressing transposon activity, while in algae it is positively associated with gene expression. Our analysis has shown that 6mA modifications are associated with expressed genes and is preferentially deposited based on gene function and conservation, revealing 6mA as a marker of expression for important functionally-relevant genes.”

In addition to 6mA performing what seems to be the opposite role of 5mC (which suppresses expression), the team found that the presence of 5mC and 6mA are inversely correlated. Specifically, while 5mC is found at repetitive regions of the genome, the methylated adenines were clustered into dense “methylated adenine clusters” (MACs) at gene promoters. 6mA was also found consistently on both strands of DNA, which may enable propagation of methylation through cell division.

“Using genomics, we explore the diversity of fungi to develop catalogs of genes, enzymes, and pathways - parts lists for bio-based economy and bioenergy applications,” said Grigoriev. “A lot of this is encoded in early diverging fungi. In these fungi, we found that majority of expressed genes have 6mA MACs. Thus, the discovery of DNA methylation in early diverging fungi helps the research community better understand regulation of genes that encode the parts for bio-based economy and bioenergy applications.”

Mondo described the identification and proposed role of 6mA in early diverging fungi at the 2017 Genomics of Energy & Environment Meeting. Watch his talk on the DOE JGI’s YouTube channel at http://bit.ly/JGI2017Mondo.

***

The U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute, a DOE Office of Science User Facility at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is committed to advancing genomics in support of DOE missions related to clean energy generation and environmental characterization and cleanup. DOE JGI, headquartered in Walnut Creek, Calif., provides integrated high-throughput sequencing and computational analysis that enable systems-based scientific approaches to these challenges. Follow @doe_jgi on Twitter.

DOE’s Office of Science is the largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.