Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Newly discovered mechanism can explain the Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome

27.10.2008
Researchers from Uppsala University have discovered a mechanism that silences several genes in a chromosome domain. The findings, published in today’s on-line issue of Molecular Cell, have implications in understanding the human disorder Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome.

In mammals the cells contain two copies of each chromosome, one inherited from the mother and one from the father. The genes on the chromosomes can either be active or inactive. If a gene is active on the maternal chromosome, the corresponding gene is usually active also on paternal chromosome.

However, in some domains of the chromosome the activity is shut down on one of the chromosomes but not on the other. The genes in these domains cannot be activated the normal way but are completely silenced. The present study shows for the first time how this silencing of several genes on a chromosome is accomplished.

The research group, led by Chandrasekhar Kanduri, has studied a domain with several silenced genes on chromosome 7 in the mouse. The corresponding domain with silenced genes is located on the human chromosome 11. When part of this domain is transcribed a long RNA molecule, Kcnq1ot1-RNA, is formed. This RNA does not give rise to any protein, instead it mediates the silencing of eight to ten genes in a much larger area on the chromosome.

Based on their findings the researchers have suggested a model for how this is accomplished. The Kcnq1ot1-RNA binds to the DNA in the domain and recruits specific enzymes that chemically modify DNA-binding proteins. This modification makes the DNA inaccessible for transcription and thereby the genes cannot be activated. In addition, the Kcnq1ot1-RNA targets the silenced domain to a specific area in the cell nucleus. There it is protected during cell division and the genes will stay silenced also in the daughter cells.

– We show for the first time how a long RNA molecule can establish and maintain silencing of multiple genes in a large domain on the chromosome, says Chandrasekhar Kanduri. The popular belief is that it is only a gene located in the same area as where the long RNA molecule is transcribed from that can be silenced.

This mechanism is important for understanding the genetic disorder Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome. In this condition silencing of the chromosome 11 domain does not function properly and both copies of the genes in the domain become inactive, instead of just one. Less protein is produced from the genes, leading to the excess growth characteristics associated with the syndrome: enlargement of organs in the foetus and an increased risk for tumours in the affected organs.

Anneli Waara | alfa
Further information:
http://www.uu.se

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The irresistible fragrance of dying vinegar flies
16.08.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

nachricht How protein islands form
15.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

Im Focus: Scientists improve forecast of increasing hazard on Ecuadorian volcano

Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).

The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New thruster design increases efficiency for future spaceflight

16.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Transporting spin: A graphene and boron nitride heterostructure creates large spin signals

16.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

A new method for the 3-D printing of living tissues

16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>