Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

IRCM researchers fuel an important debate in the field of molecular biology

27.01.2012
The discovery made by Dr. François Robert's team confirms the universality of an essential cellular process

Dr. François Robert, molecular biology researcher at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM), and his team confirmed that the phosphorylation of RNA polymerase II, a key enzyme in the process of gene expression, is uniform across all genes. This discovery, which contributes to numerous debates on the topic within the scientific community, will be published tomorrow in the scientific journal Molecular Cell.

Phosphorylation, or the addition of phosphate to a molecule, is one of the most important regulation mechanisms for cells. It allows, among other things, to control interactions between proteins.

"During transcription, the first step in gene expression, RNA polymerase II is abundantly phosphorylated," explains Dr. Robert, Director of the Chromatin and Genomic Expression research unit at the IRCM. "This allows for the coordination between transcription and the other steps in the process of gene expression."

By examining a small number of genes, certain pioneering studies that have been long-accepted in the field had shown that phosphorylation of RNA polymerase II always occurred in the same prescribed pattern during transcription. However, recent genome-wide analyses challenged this idea by suggesting that this process was not uniform across different genes. "The latter model is very controversial, because it is unclear how, or why, transcription could work in such radically different ways from one gene to the next," says Alain Bataille, doctoral student and first co-author of the study.

By using modern functional genomic tools, the team of researchers confirmed the former hypothesis that transcription operates in a uniform way across virtually all genes.

"The identity of enzymes responsible for adding and removing phosphate groups to RNA polymerase II is another controversial topic among scientists," adds Dr. Célia Jeronimo, postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Robert's laboratory and first co-author of the article. "Our research also allowed us to better understand the respective role of these essential enzymes."

"The results of our studies represent a major contribution to the scientific community in the understanding of different cellular processes within the field of molecular biology," concludes Dr. Robert.

The research project was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). "CIHR is proud to have supported this study, which has settled an important fundamental question in genetic regulation," said Dr. Paul Lasko, Scientific Director of the Institute of Genetics. "I applaud Dr. Robert and his team on their discovery. As misregulation of transcription often underlies genetic disease and cancer, breakthroughs such as this provide critical insights that will one day lead to new treatments that will improve the health of Canadians." For more information on this discovery, please refer to the article summary published online by Molecular Cell: http://www.cell.com/molecular-cell/abstract/S1097-2765(11)00951-8.

About Dr. François Robert

François Robert obtained his PhD in molecular biology from the Université de Sherbrooke. He is Associate IRCM Research Professor, Director of the Systems Biology and Medicinal Chemistry research program, and Director of the Chromatin and Genomic Expression research unit. Dr. Robert is an associate researcher-professor in the Department of Medicine (accreditation in molecular biology) at the Université de Montréal. He is also adjunct professor in the Department of Biology at the Université de Sherbrooke.

About the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM)

Founded in 1967, the IRCM (http://www.ircm.qc.ca) is currently comprised of 36 research units in various fields, namely immunity and viral infections, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, cancer, neurobiology and development, systems biology and medicinal chemistry. It also houses three specialized research clinics, seven core facilities and three research platforms with state-of-the-art equipment. The IRCM employs 425 people and is an independent institution affiliated with the Université de Montréal. The IRCM clinic is associated to the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM). The IRCM also maintains a long-standing association with McGill University.

Julie Langelier | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ircm.qc.ca

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute

nachricht Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>