Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Informant' jumping gene offers new method for studying how genes are regulated

Date:
March 31, 2011
Source:
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)
Summary:
Scientists have developed a new method for studying gene regulation, by employing a jumping gene as an informant. Called GROMIT, it allows scientists to also create mouse models for human diseases caused by chromosomal rearrangements, such as Down syndrome.

Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, have developed a new method for studying gene regulation, by employing a jumping gene as an informant.

Related Articles


Published online in Nature Genetics, the new method is called GROMIT. It enables researchers to systematically explore the very large part of our genome that does not code for proteins, and which likely plays a large role in making each of us unique, by controlling when, where and to what extent genes are turned on, or expressed. Thanks to GROMIT, scientists can also create mouse models for human diseases such as Down syndrome.

"Our findings change how we think about gene regulation, and about how differences between individual genomes could lead to disease," says Fran็ois Spitz from EMBL, who led the study.

Until now, scientists thought that regulatory elements essentially controlled a specific gene or group of genes. With GROMIT, Spitz and colleagues discovered that the genome is not organized in such a gene-centric manner. Instead, it appears that each regulatory element can potentially control whatever is within its reach. This means that mutations that simply shuffle genetic elements around (without deleting or altering them) can have striking effects, by bringing genes into or out of specific regulators' zones of influence.

The EMBL scientists also discovered that many of these regulatory elements act in specific tissues, which suggests that the expression levels of every gene, even those that are active all over the body, are fine-tuned at the tissue level.

Jumping genes -- or transposons -- are sequences of DNA that can move from place to place within a cell's genome. This can have detrimental effects, for example if this extra genetic material is inserted into an important gene, disrupting it. But Spitz and colleagues used this property to their advantage. The scientists enlisted a jumping gene to act as an informant, revealing where genetic regulation was occurring. They engineered that jumping gene to react to the presence of regulatory elements, and devised a method to control when it jumps to a different location in a mouse's genome. Through selective breeding, Spitz and colleagues were then able to generate lines of mice with the jumping gene in many different places. In each of these lines, the jumping gene gave them information about the regulatory activity happening in the area of the genome where it was sitting.

"This new technique is easier, faster, less invasive and more efficient than previous approaches," says Spitz: "we don't have to go through the complex and time-consuming process of engineering embryonic stem cells to create a mouse from; with GROMIT, we only have to mate the mice."

GROMIT also allows researchers to easily delete or re-shuffle areas of the genome, to assess their biological role. This approach can be used to create mouse models in which to study human diseases like Williams-Beuren syndrome, which occurs when part of chromosome 7 is missing, and Down syndrome, in which part or all of chromosome 21 is repeated.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sandra Ruf, Orsolya Symmons, Veli Vural Uslu, Dirk Dolle, Chlo้ Hot, Laurence Ettwiller, Fran็ois Spitz. Large-scale analysis of the regulatory architecture of the mouse genome with a transposon-associated sensor. Nature Genetics, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/ng.790

Cite This Page:

European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). "'Informant' jumping gene offers new method for studying how genes are regulated." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110321093837.htm>.
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). (2011, March 31). 'Informant' jumping gene offers new method for studying how genes are regulated. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110321093837.htm
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). "'Informant' jumping gene offers new method for studying how genes are regulated." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110321093837.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) — The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) — Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) — Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
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