Part 2: http://dialoguewithdisability.blogspot.com/2013/05/how-do-parkinsons-researchers-discover_29.html
Part 3: http://dialoguewithdisability.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/how-do-parkinsons-researchers-discover_30.html
TOOL 3 – Expression plasmids
To understand a gene you must understand the protein it generates; the criminal has to be investigated to understand the extent of his crimes.
What does the mutated protein do?
Genes contain the information required to build proteins; genes are said to “express” or manufacture proteins and they can do this because different combinations of DNA subunits link together specific amino acids, which make up proteins.
Is it possible to express the mutated protein to help study it? Researchers use necklace-like circular DNA molecules called expression plasmids to express genes. First a gene is copied by PCR and then inserted into the expression plasmid (like adding links to a necklace). The expression plasmid is transferred into cells where it tricks the cell into expressing the gene it carries.
TOOL 4 – Green fluorescent protein
In every cell proteins are busy carrying out all of the essential functions needed to keep the cell alive. Different proteins work in different areas of the cell; imagine a cell is like a house and each room requires different furniture and appliances. If a protein is to be understood one of the crucial things to know is where in the cell it does its job. Normally, when you look at cells down a microscope they are colourless so how do we pin point one colourless protein out of thousands in a cell?