Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Novel mechanism for control of gene expression revealed

Date:
March 6, 2011
Source:
Boston University Medical Center
Summary:
Scientists have recently discovered a novel, evolutionarily conserved mechanism for the regulation of gene expression. Normal cell growth, embryonic development, and responses to stress, require proper spatial and temporal control of gene expression. Studies on control of transcription (RNA biosynthesis) are typically centered on understanding how the RNA polymerase is recruited to the promoter, the control region of a gene. However, new work has revealed the existence of a second level of control in a yeast model system.

Dr. David Levin, Professor of Molecular & Cell Biology at Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine and Professor of Microbiology at Boston University School of Medicine discovered recently a novel, evolutionarily conserved mechanism for the regulation of gene expression. The study appears in the March 4 issue of Cell.

Related Articles


Normal cell growth, embryonic development, and responses to stress, require proper spatial and temporal control of gene expression. Studies on control of transcription (RNA biosynthesis) are typically centered on understanding how the RNA polymerase is recruited to the promoter, the control region of a gene. However, new work from Levin and postdoctoral fellow, Ki-Young Kim, has revealed the existence of a second level of control in a yeast model system.

They found that genes expressed solely under certain stress conditions are normally maintained in a silent state by a process called transcriptional attenuation. In attenuation, the RNA polymerase initiates transcription of the gene, but its progress is terminated prematurely by a termination complex that binds to the polymerase. Attenuation occurs commonly in bacteria, but was not previously known to operate in eukaryotic cells (those with a nucleus).

"In response to an inducing stress signal, attenuation must be overcome so that a target gene can be expressed," said Levin. "The way that works in this instance is that an activating transcription factor, called Mpk1, serves double duty -- it is first responsible for recruitment of the RNA polymerase to the promoter, but Mpk1 then binds to the transcribing polymerase to block association of the termination complex."

Mutations in a human protein, called Senataxin, which is related to a component of the yeast termination complex, are responsible for causing juvenile-onset forms of ALS and ataxia, two neuromuscular degenerative diseases.

In their newest research, Levin and Kim show that the discovered attenuation mechanism is evolutionarily conserved in humans. "The findings of this research have broad implications that translate to human cells," said Levin. "We know that when the key yeast proteins are replaced by their human counterparts, they are able to engage in the same interactions to exert control over attenuation."

Levin believes that attenuation is actually a widespread phenomenon. "Approximately 10% of yeast genes appear to be under attenuation control, which suggests that it may also be common in humans," said Levin. "This opens the door to the possibility of new approaches to therapeutic gene silencing, now that we know transcriptional attenuation operates in eukaryotic cells and that it's a regulated process."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Boston University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ki-Young Kim and David E. Levin. Mpk1 MAPK Association with the Paf1 Complex Blocks Sen1-Mediated Premature Transcription Termination. Cell, Volume 144, Issue 5, 745-756, 4 March 2011 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2011.01.034

Cite This Page:

Boston University Medical Center. "Novel mechanism for control of gene expression revealed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110304115356.htm>.
Boston University Medical Center. (2011, March 6). Novel mechanism for control of gene expression revealed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110304115356.htm
Boston University Medical Center. "Novel mechanism for control of gene expression revealed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110304115356.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) The family of a Dallas nurse infected with Ebola in the US says doctors can no longer detect the virus in her. Despite the mounting death toll in West Africa, there are survivors there too. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
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