Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have begun unraveling the network of genes and proteins that regulate the lives of cells. The investigators compared the genome of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae (S. cerevisiae) to those of five other yeast species to identify all the locations at which molecules known as regulatory proteins attach to DNA to turn genes on and off. The study is published in the May 30 issue of the journal Science.
Among the many potential sites of gene regulation, 79 were predicted to be definitive new regulatory sites. The investigators also discovered 43 new genes and determined that 515 suspected genes are not genes at all. The findings revised the estimated number of genes in the S. cerevisiae genome from 6,331 to 5,773.
"This is the first step in understanding the gene-regulation network in a simple cell," says principal investigator Mark Johnston, Ph.D., professor of genetics and interim chair of genetics. "This work also will provide guidelines for analyzing the regulatory network of human cells, which will be a much more complex task."
Darrell E. Ward | EurekAlert!
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