Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Control of Gene Expression Demonstrated

15.09.2003


Intervention in the process whereby genes are turned "on" or "off" has been demonstrated by scientists at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School. The work offers promise for future genetic treatment to control undesirable tissue growth, such as in cancer.



The experimental work of the group is described in a recent article in the journal, Nature Genetics. The researchers succeeded in showing how manipulation of the methylation process in animals can turn genes which are normally inactive into active ones.

Early in the development of the embryo in the uterus, a methyl "cap" is attached to most of the genes in the nuclei of the dividing cells, with the exception of those "housekeeping" genes which are present in every cell and are necessary to keep them functioning.


This methylation process prevents the tissue-specific genes (those which produce tissues such as liver, heart, muscle, etc., cells) from expressing themselves (becoming activated) every time there is cell division. Those genes are selectively unmethylated only at various stages and for specific periods, as required, in the normal development process of the organism.

The Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School scientists were successful in showing that methylation works by affecting chromosome structure. Unmethylated genes remain open and accessible, while methylation causes genes to be packaged in a closed form - explaining why they are inactive. In their experimental work, the scientists were able to artificially "open" or unmethylate certain genes - that is, turn them "on" -- and keep them that way for as long as desired.

This can have consequences, for example, in controlling tumorous growths. In the latter stages of cancerous spread, those genes which normally control unwanted cell growth are abnormally shut down. By being able to keep such beneficial genes active, it would be possible to halt the tumors’ progress. Such an achievement, however, has yet to be demonstrated in laboratory experiments.

The authors of the article on methylation and its manipulation are: Howard Cedar, the Harry and Helen L. Brenner Professor of Molecular Biology at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, together with graduate students Tamar Hashimshony and Jianmin Zhang; senior researcher Dr. Ilana Keshet of the Medical School; and Dr. Michael Bustin of the National Cancer Institute, U.S. National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda. MD.

Jerry Barach | Hebrew University
Further information:
http://www.huji.ac.il

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht MicroRNA helps cancer evade immune system
19.09.2017 | Salk Institute

nachricht Ruby: Jacobs University scientists are collaborating in the development of a new type of chocolate
18.09.2017 | Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

Im Focus: Artificial Enzymes for Hydrogen Conversion

Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.

Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

New quantum phenomena in graphene superlattices

19.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A simple additive to improve film quality

19.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>