Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

RNA unpackages the genome and makes it accessible for gene expression

02.10.2012
Our genome is densely packaged in the cell nucleus to protect the fragile DNA molecule and to control its activity. Scientists from the Universities in Regensburg and Munich discovered a novel RNA dependent pathway that unpackages the genome and makes it accessible for gene expression.

The genome encoding for all information to build an entire organism is made of DNA. This molecule is a very thin thread of about 2 m in length. The DNA has to fit into a cell nucleus with a diameter that is 100.000 times smaller than the length of the DNA. In order to stow and to protect the fragile DNA molecule inside, it is wrapped around molecular spools consisting of proteins.


Microscopic picture displaying the distribution of DNA and RNA in human cells: Cellular DNA (blue) and RNA (green) were stained with specific dyes and visualized by fluorescence microscopy. In control cells containing RNA, the DNA is distributed homogenously within the cell nucleus. After specific RNA depletion (lower panel) the DNA aggregates into compact and inactive higher order structures of chromatin.

Image: University of Regensburg

About 30 millions of such spools, arranged like pearls on a string, are required to package the DNA molecule. The pearls on a string undergo further coiling and compacting to safely store DNA that is called chromatin in its packaged form. However, for cell function and daily use the DNA information of specific genomic regions have to be rendered accessible. Therefore active mechanisms must have evolved to unpackage the genome and allow the readout of the underlying genetic information.

Researchers belonging to the groups of the biochemist Gernot Längst from the University of Regensburg and Axel Imhof, a molecular biologist at the LMU in Munich, could now show that small RNA molecules regulate the accessibility and structure of the DNA in chromatin. They identified and characterized snoRNAs (a specific class of RNA molecules) as key regulators of chromatin organisation. In combination with an RNA and chromatin binding protein (the adapterprotein Df31) the RNA binds to specific regions of the genome. This complex interferes with the regular packaging of chromatin and locally decondenses this structure, thereby allowing the readout of the genetic information.

The results were published in „Molecular Cell“ ((DOI:10.1016/j.molcel.2012.08.021).
http://www.cell.com/molecular-cell/abstract/S1097-2765%2812%2900739-3?switch=standard

Press Contact:
Prof. Dr. Gernot Längst
University of Regensburg
Biochemistry III
phone +49 941 943-2849
gernot.laengst@vkl.uni-regensburg.de

Alexander Schlaak | idw
Further information:
http://www.uni-regensburg.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>