Scientists identified 85 genes essential for fission yeast cells, according to a study conducted on August 15, 2018.
This study was conducted by the scientists from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST). These 85 genes are essential for fission yeast cells that are at rest, under nutritionally limited environmental conditions to maintain their ability to go back to the dividing mode. This study might be useful in developing new therapies for cancer.
Multiplication of cells occur in all living organisms and this happens when the nutritional and environmental conditions are favorable for cell division. The availability of ample nutrition via a nitrogen source is one of the main deciding factors necessary to initiate the cell division process, as nitrogen is needed to make DNA, RNA and protein. In the absence of an external nitrogen-source, cells should recycle the intracellular nitrogen source and remain in a non-dividing (quiescent) state, also known as the G0 phase. In the G0 phase, the cells change into shapes different from the dividing mode and they modify the way they work to cope with the scarcity of the nitrogen source, reactivating for division only when favorable and ample amount of nitrogen returns. This ability of cells to restart the cell division process is known as mitotic competence (MC).
As a part of this study, a collection of 3280 fission yeast deletion mutant cell strains that had one of their genes, or a part of it deleted was examined by the scientists. 85 out of the total 3280 mutant yeast strains examined exhibited shorter periods of MC. The scientists therefore inferred these 85 missing genes to be essential for yeast cells to maintain MC during their G0 phase. Moreover, around half of these genes were reportedly linked to cancer, implicating a tight connection between the maintenance of MC in G0 cells and malignant divisions in cancer cells.