UCSF-led scientists have identified the first "master" molecule in the cell nucleus that controls the action of hundreds of different genes at once through its action on enzymes. The broad-acting molecule affects enzymes that restructure chromosomes, exposing genes to proteins that can then trigger key gene processes, including the start of protein production and copying and repairing of genes.
The molecules broad effect on a number of genes may allow organisms – including humans -- to respond quickly to stress, the scientists say. The research finding is based on studies of yeast, but the same molecule is present in humans and all higher organisms. Mutations that affect enzymes involved in chromosome restructuring have been linked to human cancers.
The study is published by SCIENCE through its Science Express web site. The paper will appear in a later print issue of SCIENCE.
Wallace Ravven | EurekAlert!
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