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 Magic number colloidal clusters
13.12.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

nachricht Record levels of mercury released by thawing permafrost in Canadian Arctic
13.12.2018 | University of Alberta

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magic number colloidal clusters

13.12.2018 | Life Sciences

UNLV study unlocks clues to how planets form

13.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Live from the ocean research vessel Atlantis

13.12.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>