Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Key Roadblock To Gene Expression Identified: Implications For AIDS

Date:
May 9, 2008
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
For the first time, research has made possible a detailed map of how the building blocks of chromosomes, the cellular structures that contain genes, are organized in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. The work identifies a critical stop sign for transcription, the first step in gene expression, and has implications for understanding how the AIDS virus regulates its genes.

A team of scientists has provided, for the first time, a detailed map of how the building blocks of chromosomes, the cellular structures that contain genes, are organized in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. The work identifies a critical stop sign for transcription, the first step in gene expression, and has implications for understanding how the AIDS virus regulates its genes. The findings will be published in the 15 May 2008 issue of the journal Nature.

Related Articles


The scientists found that nucleosomes--chromosomal building blocks made up of proteins around which DNA is coiled--occur at precise locations along genes that are actively undergoing transcription. They also showed that RNA polymerase--the enzyme that reads genes as the first step in making proteins--is stopped at the first nucleosome, where it remains idle until it is directed to continue moving forward. "This discovery is important because nucleosomes are barriers to transcription and we now are seeing the impact of nucleosome organization on RNA polymerase," said lead investigator B. Franklin Pugh, professor and Willaman Chair in Molecular Biology at Penn State University.

Using state-of-the-art ChIP-sequencing, a genome-mapping tool provided by collaborator Stephen S. Schuster, Penn State professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, and computational predictions developed by collaborators Ilya Ioshikhes, an assistant professor at Ohio State University, and Istvan Albert, a research assistant professor of bioinformatics at Penn State, the scientists precisely mapped the locations of hundreds of thousands of nucleosomes. The scientists then compared these maps to the team's earlier maps of the baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, revealing that evolution has organized nucleosomes differently in simple life forms compared to more complex organisms like the fruit fly.

In yeast, a nucleosome sits on top of the transcription start site, so RNA polymerase must contend with that nucleosome as soon as it begins to transcribe the gene. In contrast, nucleosomes are positioned further downstream in fruit flies, so transcription starts but then soon pauses at the first nucleosome the RNA polymerase encounters. "This pause is maintained until chemical signals from the cell cue the removal of the nucleosome and encourage the RNA polymerase to continue along its path," said key collaborator David S. Gilmour, professor of molecular and cellular biology at Penn State and an expert on the pausing of RNA polymerase.

"A year ago, we could name about 10 genes that work this way. Now, we know of 1,000 in flies alone and we suspect there could be many more in humans," said Gilmour. "Even HIV genes have a paused RNA polymerase. Release of this pause may be key to activating HIV replication of otherwise latent viruses. Taking advantage of this new understanding might enable the development of more effective anti-viral drugs," he said.

"The bottom line is that we need to know how the expression of genes is regulated in order to understand the underpinnings of most human diseases, and these findings take us one step closer," said Pugh.

This work was funded by the National Institutes of Health and Penn State.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Key Roadblock To Gene Expression Identified: Implications For AIDS." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080508103623.htm>.
Penn State. (2008, May 9). Key Roadblock To Gene Expression Identified: Implications For AIDS. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080508103623.htm
Penn State. "Key Roadblock To Gene Expression Identified: Implications For AIDS." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080508103623.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins