With the sequence of the human genome largely in hand and the majority of genes now available for study, scientists have increasingly turned their attention to better understanding the process of gene regulation. How is a gene turned on? How is a gene turned off? Estimates are that only one in ten genes is active in a given cell at a given time, so these questions are biologically significant. And in many ways, health turns on the appropriate and reliable control of genes. An array of disease conditions can arise if normal gene regulation is perturbed for any reason.
In the case of gene activation, past studies have revealed that specific molecular additions to DNA-packaging proteins called histones are critical to the process. A number of histones are generally involved in the packaging of a single gene, and the picture had emerged of different enzymes adding different molecular groups to different histones to achieve a series of small changes with the collective outcome of turning the gene on. In essence, additions to histones were accumulated until the "on" state was reached.
Now, a new study by researchers at The Wistar Institute reveals the gene-activation process through these molecular modifications to be more dynamic than had been appreciated previously. Specifically, the teams experiments show that, within the process of turning a gene on, the addition of a molecule called ubiquitin is required and, at a different stage of activation, the removal of ubiquitin is also necessary. A sequence of modifications is therefore involved – including some that may be reversible, it is now clear. The picture of certain molecular groups being added to histones until the cumulative changes result in gene activation now appears inadequate to explain the process. Instead, a new view that places greater emphasis on the specific order of molecular events within the process of gene activation targeting the histones now seems more informative.
Franklin Hoke | EurekAlert!
Molecular Force Sensors
20.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Foster tadpoles trigger parental instinct in poison frogs
20.09.2017 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
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...
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...
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...
Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
20.09.2017 | Life Sciences
20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy