Proteins called coactivators control the process by which a single gene can initiate production of several proteins in a process called alternative splicing, said Baylor College of Medicine researchers in a report that appears in todays issue of the journal Molecular Cell. "A major question in biology today is how human cells with 30,000 genes produce at least 120,000 proteins," said Dr. Bert OMalley, chair of the BCM department of molecular and cellular biology. The answer is a process called alternative splicing in which certain information from a gene is left out or included, changing the format of the resulting protein.
In other words, if the information in a gene is like the elements of a computer code, leaving out some of the code results in a very different program than what would have resulted if all the components had been included or different parts had been left out. In this instance, leaving out part of the gene changes the protein.
"The question is, How is this controlled?" said OMalley.
Kimberlee Barbour | EurekAlert!
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