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 The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow
25.07.2017 | Rudolf-Virchow-Zentrum für Experimentelle Biomedizin der Universität Würzburg

nachricht Fungi that evolved to eat wood offer new biomass conversion tool
25.07.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather

25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds

25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow

25.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>