Connections seen to X-linked mental retardation and some forms of leukemia
Most of the time, most of the estimated 35,000 genes in the human genome are silent, securely stored away in the tightly coiled structure of chromatin, which makes up chromosomes. Inside chromatin, the DNA is wound around small proteins called histones, making it unavailable to the cellular machinery that would otherwise read its coded genetic information. Specific cell and tissue types are characterized by the carefully controlled activation of selected sets of signature genes.
Now, a team of researchers at The Wistar Institute reports discovery of a family of molecular complexes involved in the repression of extensive sets of tissue-specific genes throughout the body. Additionally, one member of the family involved in repressing brain-specific genes in other types of tissues has been found to include a gene thought to be responsible for X-linked mental retardation when mutated. Other components of these complexes have been associated with certain forms of leukemia.
Franklin Hoke | EurekAlert!
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