Goldilocks principle in biology – fine-tuning the ‘just right’ signal load



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The concentrations of Nod factor are controlled by CHIT5 and this is important for establishing functional symbiosis (red nodules) versus defect symbiosis (white nodules). Figure: Kasper Røjkjær Andersen, Simon Kelly and Simona Radutoiu.

2018.10.12 | Research

Goldilocks principle in biology – fine-tuning the ‘just right’ signal load

In the fairy tale "Goldilock and the Three Bears", the girl Goldilock goes to the bears’ house where she finds three bowls of porridge, but only one has the “just right” temperature, and in the same way within biology, you can find the "just right" conditions - called the Goldilocks principle. This is precisely what an international research team…

Upper panel: Wild type roots form nodules whether or not they are transgenic (the latter are marked by green fluorescence). Lower panel: Downregulation of miR2111 in transgenic roots (marked by green fluorescence) leads to reduced symbiosis. Nitrogen-fixing nodules (red fluorescence) preferentially form on non-transgenic roots that have normal miR2111 activity. Figure: Katharina Markmann.

2018.09.25 | Research

How leaves talk to roots

New findings show that a micro RNA from the shoot keeps legume roots susceptible to symbiotic infection by downregulating a gene that would otherwise hinder root responses to symbiotic bacteria. These findings help us understand what it takes to make nitrogen-fixing symbiosis efficient, and what we need to do to exploit it agronomically.

2018.09.24 | Grant

30 million DKK to develop optimised crops

Together with researchers from the University of Copenhagen and plant breeding companies, Henrik Brinch-Pedersen from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics has received DKK 30 million from the Innovation Fund Denmark to develop crops with improved properties by the use of CRISPR.

Figure: Søren Lykke-Andersen.
<b>Figure 1 | The structure of the snoRNA dictates the production of the protein-coding host. </b> Schematic illustration of how two different snoRNA structures impact the expression of the host gene. Left: specific snoRNA structure obtained when snoRNA proteins bind to the snoRNA. This structure facilitates an alternative splicing of the RNA, inhibiting the production of protein. Right: Alternative snoRNA structure formed by the naked snoRNA, which leads to the production of a protein-coding mRNA, ultimately producing protein. Figure: Søren Lykke-Andersen.
<b>Figure 2| Evolution of snoRNA genes and function.</b> Left: Independent snoRNA gene unit, which is the predominant snoRNA gene organization in e.g. yeast. Middle: snoRNA hosted in the intron (red line) of a protein-coding gene. The green boxes indicate coding regions called exons. This is the predominant snoRNA gene organization in e.g. humans. Right: In the described study it was demonstrated that a specific intron-hosted snoRNA controls the splicing of its host transcript. Figure: Søren Lykke-Andersen.

2018.09.19 | Research

Co-evolution between a "parasite gene" and its host

A Danish research team has delineated a complex symbiosis between a ‘parasitic’ noncoding RNA gene and its protein coding ‘host’ gene in human cells. The study reveals how co-evolution of the host gene and parasite gene has shaped a feedback mechanism in which the parasite gene plays a completely new and surprising part as regulator of the host…