According to Phys Org, the results are part of a study conducted by a group of researchers at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (EMSL) and at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston on the functions of the two genes, present in many bacterial species.
For the study, scientists chose to observe the two genes in Escherichia coli bacteria, known as E. Coli. Working with different levels of the genes, they found that high levels of MraZ didn’t allow cell division and killed the cells and that this toxic effect was stronger when used on cells with minimum levels of nutrients for colony growth by comparison to cells provided with all nutrients for a robust growth. In addition, that same toxicity grew when bacteria were manipulated to lack MraW and decreased when both of the genes were produced in excess.
The observation of these factors led the researchers to believe that MraW weakens the toxic effects of MraZ and that the two regulate cell division and growth by working on a contrary direction.
The researchers also observed that the loss of MraZ affected about 2% of genes in the E.Coli genome, whereas its overproduction affected almost a quarter of all, including the ones responsible for cell division, metabolism and cell wall synthesis.
The research on MraZ and MraW must be seen on the context of the recent discovery of the mechanism potentially used by many bacteria to adapt to poor environments of growth, and adds new evidence to the possibility of laboratorial regulation of other genes activity.