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Researchers have used mass spectroscopy to determine the absolute copy numbers of nuclear proteins and histone modifications in the Drosophila embryo. The results provide new insights into the mechanisms of animal development.

Fruitflies and humans have a lot in common. Indeed, about 60% of all fruitfly genes have identifiable counterparts in humans. Research carried out in the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster has yielded a wealth of information on the basic molecular mechanisms that control animal development. However, it remains largely unclear how many copies of each of the proteins involved are produced and essential for the orderly development of a multicellular organism. In a new study, Jürg Müller at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Biochemistry, in collaboration with research groups led by Axel Imhof (Professor of Molecular Biology at LMU's Biomedical Center) and Michiel Vermeulen (who is based at Radboud University in Nijmegen), have quantitatively characterized the set of proteins required to regulate the development of the Drosophila embryo. More specifically, the measured the absolute copy numbers of all proteins and the chemical modifications on histone proteins in the cell nuclei of the embryo. Their findings appear in the current issue of the journal Developmental Cell.

DNA - Cell - Nucleus - Particles - Nucleosomes

The genomic DNA in the cell nucleus is tightly wrapped around particles called nucleosomes, which are made up of histone proteins. This causes each of the long DNA molecules to condense into a highly compact form, which is collectively known as chromatin. In other words, all of the genomic information that directs the orderly differentiation of...
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