By comparing 140 sequenced bacterial genomes, researchers have uncovered a system for regulating genes essential to bacterial replication - and they did it solely by computer keystrokes and mouse clicks.
Mikhail Gelfand, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute international research scholar at the Institute for Information Transmission Problems (IITP) in Moscow, and his postdoctoral fellow, Dmitry Rodionov, used comparative genomics to identify a new transcription factor system in bacteria that represses expression of genes involved in DNA replication. They scanned gene sequences and proteomes of several taxonomic groups of bacteria, identifying not only a highly conserved signal sequence, but also the regulatory transcription factor that bound it, the repressor nature of the signal, and other genes also regulated by this system.
“We provided a very detailed description of a system just by doing bioinformatics alone,” says Gelfand, director of the IITPs research and training center of bioinformatics. “Its a proof of principle that you can go a very long way by comparative genomics now.” Their findings will be published in the July issue of Trends in Genetics, with early publication now online. Gelfand is presenting the work on June 24, 2005, at the annual meeting of HHMI international research scholars in Mérida, Mexico.
Cindy Fox Aisen | EurekAlert!
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