Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Piece Found In The Puzzle Of Epigenetics: Mechanism Of Fine Regulation Of RNA Synthesis Elucidated

Date:
June 26, 2009
Source:
Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen - German Research Centre for Environmental Health
Summary:
Scientists have identified the enzyme TFIIH kinase as an important factor in the epigenetic regulation of the cell nucleus enzyme RNA polymerase II. The findings constitute a further building block for understanding the pathomechanisms of cancer and other diseases.

A team of scientists led by Professor Dirk Eick of Helmholtz Zentrum Mόnchen has identified the enzyme TFIIH kinase as an important factor in the epigenetic regulation of the cell nucleus enzyme RNA polymerase II. The findings, recently published in the journal Molecular Cell, constitute a further building block for understanding the pathomechanisms of cancer and other diseases.

For many years scientists have known that the numerous biological functions of an organism are not regulated solely by the DNA sequence of its genes: Superordinate regulatory mechanisms exist that contribute to determining the fate of genes. Although they are not anchored in the DNA, they can even be passed on to subsequent generations to a certain extent. Intensive research in recent years has shown that these mechanisms – bundled under the term epigenetics, are very multifaceted and complex.

Professor Dirk Eick and staff members of the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology and Tumor Genetics of Helmholtz Zentrum Mόnchen, together with colleagues from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin, USA, have now identified another piece in the puzzle of epigenetics: They showed that the enzyme TFIIH kinase is involved in epigenetic regulation.

The scientists were interested in the fine regulation of the cell nucleus enzyme RNA polymerase II. This transcribes the genetic information of the genetic substance DNA into messenger RNA - mRNA for short – which in turn is the basis for protein synthesis. At the same time RNA polymerase II is also responsible for the production of other kinds of RNA molecules, the so-called snRNA, which are not translated into proteins but take on other tasks. In prior research Eick and his colleagues had observed that a certain region of the RNA polymerase II enzyme – the carboxy-terminal domain – is involved in deciding which kinds of RNA are formed. In humans this domain consists of 52 repeats of a sequence of seven amino acids.

For RNA synthesis the determining factor is whether and how specific amino acids of this region are modified biochemically. Thus, it is absolutely essential for the synthesis of snRNA that the amino acid serine at position 7 of this repeat sequence is provided with an additional phosphate group. If this is lacking, mRNA will be produced, but not any snRNA. The reason for that is presumably that this phosphorylation enables the interaction with a protein complex – the so-called integrator complex – which is necessary for snRNA formation. In other words, the modification of the enzyme RNA polymerase II at defined positions regulates whether this enzyme can produce certain kinds of RNA molecules or not.

In their latest research, the scientists led by Dirk Eick showed that the enzyme TFIIH kinase is responsible for the selective phosphorylation of RNA polymerase II. “With these findings another building block has been identified that plays a key role in epigenetic regulation by means of RNA polymerase II,” Professor Eick said. “This is of great significance because knowledge of epigenetic mechanisms is necessary in order to better understand cancer and other diseases and to be able to provide more targeted treatment.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen - German Research Centre for Environmental Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Akhtar et al. TFIIH Kinase Places Bivalent Marks on the Carboxy-Terminal Domain of RNA Polymerase II. Molecular Cell, 2009; 34 (3): 387 DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2009.04.016

Cite This Page:

Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen - German Research Centre for Environmental Health. "New Piece Found In The Puzzle Of Epigenetics: Mechanism Of Fine Regulation Of RNA Synthesis Elucidated." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090616080911.htm>.
Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen - German Research Centre for Environmental Health. (2009, June 26). New Piece Found In The Puzzle Of Epigenetics: Mechanism Of Fine Regulation Of RNA Synthesis Elucidated. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090616080911.htm
Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen - German Research Centre for Environmental Health. "New Piece Found In The Puzzle Of Epigenetics: Mechanism Of Fine Regulation Of RNA Synthesis Elucidated." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090616080911.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. 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:
from the past week

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