London: European researchers have claimed to
have identified a new gene sub-code that would help determine
the rate at which a product is made by the cell.
According to the researchers from ETH Zurich and the SIB
Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, each cell of an organism
contains a copy of its genome, which is a coding sequence of
The cell is able to translate some of these coding
sequences into different proteins that are necessary for
growth, repair of some tissues and for energy at specialised
factories called the ribosomes.
For this translation, the cell follows a decoding
procedure provided by the "genetic code" that tells what
protein is made from a given sequence.
The discovery of the new sub-code will provide more
information about the functioning of these ribosomes and could
be exploited to more efficiently produce therapeutic agents
and research reagents, said the research that appeared in the
For example, many therapeutic agents, such as insulin,
are produced by expressing a protein in a foreign host such as
E coli or S cerevisiae.
The new sub-code can be now used to rewrite the
information such as to optimise in a much more rational manner
the amount of product delivered by the foreign host.
The research also makes it possible to read information
about gene expression rates directly from genomic sequences.
Giving details, Co-researcher Gina Cannarozzi, a computer
scientists from the ETH in Zurich, said: "A cell must respond
very quickly to injuries such as DNA damage and to potent
poisons such as arsenic.
"The new sub-code enables us to know which genes are
turned-on quickly after these insults and which are best
expressed slowly," she said.
Presently, this information could only be obtained
through laborious and expensive experimental approaches, such
as microarrays, but the new discovery would help "get this
information using only analysis of the coding sequence," she