Sunday, November 13, 2016

Successful partial hybrid cells of humans and plants

Osaka: It is thought that plants and animals were diverged from common ancestors about 1.6 billion years ago and evolved in their own way, respectively. However, it was unknown how much functions of their own are conserved in their long history. Professor WADA Naoki succeeded in developing hybrid cells, although a partial one, between humans and plants, a world first. This group also clarified that plant chromosomes are stably maintained and that genes of various plants were expressed in these hybrid cells with a background similar to a human background.

This group discussed conditions and methods for fusing thale cress (a model plant)-derived cells and human cells, succeeded in obtaining partial hybrid cells between humans and plants. The whole human chromosomes were conserved in these hybrid cells, so it is thought that these hybrid cells had a cell environment similar to humans’. Human-Plant Chromosomes with plant chromosomal regions were observed in these hybrid cells.
Furthermore, this group found that the structure of Human-Plant Chromosome changed during culture, and formed independent plant chromosomes with plant chromosomes translocated. As these plant chromosomes were stably maintained, a mechanism for conserving human chromosomes worked in plant chromosomes as well, and these Human-Plant Chromosomes conserved various plant chromosomes as they had been.
After examining expression of the gene in full detail, this group confirmed that various plant genes were expressed in these hybrid cells. This shows that gene expression systems are conserved between humans and plants. In other words, the encounter of chromosomes in human and plants first in the some 1.6 billion years in this study demonstrated that living organisms still had a mechanism for conserving their chromosomes and a mechanism for expressing genes. This suggests that these systems are very fundamental and important for life.
Hybrid cells established by this group is the first tool for enabling the examination of evolutionary conservation between humans and plants at the chromosomal level. The use of these cells will be helpful in finding out basic principles of life, or how living organisms have evolved and what natures they have remained.
Additionally, generating new species in plants and microorganisms by introducing different genome and chromosomes is thought to be a very promising breeding method. In order to use this method at will, it is necessary to know how different genomes and chromosomes are accepted in living organisms and cause stability or instability.
It is expected that hybrid cells developed by this group will be helpful in the clarification of a general chromosome maintenance mechanism beyond species, contributing to the breeding of living organisms that can be beneficial to humans.