A naturally occurring variation in an essential gene can suppress genetic mutations caused by retroviruses in mice, according to a new discovery by researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine.
Published in the September 28 online edition of Nature Genetics, and in the journal’s October issue, the study identified a novel change in mice in a gene called mRNA nuclear export factor 1 (Nxf1). This gene normally acts as part of the cell’s machinery for ensuring that only properly functioning genes are expressed, or turned on. Genes that have been disrupted by insertions of retroviruses often fail to pass this quality checkpoint.
The UCSD team demonstrated that the novel form of Nxf1 restored function to mutated genes by increasing the amount of normal product made by the mutated gene, and alleviated abnormalities in two very different mouse mutations.
Sue Pondrom | UCSD news
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