A group of researchers led by Professor Jussi Taipale from the University of Helsinki and National Public Health Institute of Finland has identified genes contributing to cell growth and cell division by systematic silencing of most of the genes in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster.

Drosophila cells are an excellent model system to also understand the regulation of growth in human cells as the core machinery involved in this process is very similar in all multicellular organisms from insects to humans. Because the regulation of cell growth is central for embryonic development as well as cancer, it is highly important to have a holistic view on these processes.

This study belongs to the emerging field of systems biology, which aims to a comprehensive understanding of cellular mechanisms by carrying out large-scale experiments and combining the data using bioinformatics. The screening of the genes was performed in High Throughput Center of the University of Helsinki.

The genome sequencing projects have revealed a large number of genes with unknown functions. The current study lead by professor Taipale identified a number of such functionally unannotated genes in addition to the identification of the majority of known growth regulators. This set of genes provides an excellent starting point for future studies concentrating on the interactions between genes involved in cell growth.

MEDICA.de; Source: University of Helsinki