An Oregon Health & Science University-led development of a technique for identifying control elements that drive the expression of genes in brain cells could unleash the disease-fighting potential of the much-hailed human genome.
Scientists at the OHSU Vollum Institute, which headed the multidisciplinary study appearing in the Dec. 29 edition of the journal Cell, are calling the approach a significant advance in understanding the genome. The Vollums director, Richard Goodman, M.D., Ph.D., professor of cell and developmental biology, and biochemistry and molecular biology, OHSU School of Medicine, said the technique could give a critical boost to the new era of genomic discovery set forth when the Human Genome Project was completed early last year. "The question was how to understand the enormous amount of genomic information that has been generated," Goodman said. "Our approach will help unlock the regulatory control of the genome." The approach could heighten understanding of the pathways behind genetic aberrations that cause diabetes, Parkinsons disease, heart disease, cancer and other diseases, he said.
The Vollum teams technique, developed in collaboration with scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y., and State University of New York, Stony Brook, resulted from an effort by Soren Impey, Ph.D., in Goodmans laboratory to characterize a family of genes regulated by the "cAMP response element binding" protein, or CREB. This well-characterized molecule is among a group of proteins called transcription factors that interact with regulatory elements in DNA that are responsible for increasing or decreasing the level of gene expression in cells.
: Jonathan Modie | EurekAlert!
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