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 Decoding the genome's cryptic language
27.02.2017 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds

27.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance

27.02.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Decoding the genome's cryptic language

27.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>