Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tracking genes' remote controls: New method for observing enhancer activity during development

Date:
January 12, 2012
Source:
European Molecular Biology Laboratory
Summary:
Inside each cell's nucleus, genetic sequences known as enhancers act like remote controls, switching genes on and off. Scientists can now see -- and predict -- exactly when each remote control is itself activated, in a real embryo.

Chemical tags called chromatin modifications (green flags) activate enhancers (yellow), which act as remote controls, turning a gene (red) on and off.
Credit: EMBL/P.Riedinger

As an embryo develops, different genes are turned on in different cells, to form muscles, neurons and other bodily parts. Inside each cell's nucleus, genetic sequences known as enhancers act like remote controls, switching genes on and off. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, can now see -- and predict -- exactly when each remote control is itself activated, in a real embryo.

Their work was recently published in Nature Genetics.

Stefan Bonn, Robert Zinzen and Charles Girardot, all in Eileen Furlong's lab at EMBL, found that specific combinations of chromatin modifications -- chemical tags that promote or hinder gene expression -- are placed at and removed from enhancers at precise times during development, switching those remote controls on or off.

"Our new method provides cell-type specific information on the activity status of an enhancer and of a gene, within a developing multicellular embryo," says Furlong.

The scientists looked at known enhancers, and compared those that were active to those that were inactive in a type of cells called mesoderm at a particular time in fruit fly development. They noted what chromatin modifications each of those enhancers had, and trained a computer model to accurately predict if an enhancer is active or inactive, based solely on what chromatin marks it bears.

In future, the scientists plan to use this method to study the interplay between the activity status of an enhancer and the presence of key switches, termed transcription factors, at different stages of embryonic development, and in different tissue types, generating an ever more complete picture of how a single cell grows into a complex organism.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Stefan Bonn, Robert P Zinzen, Charles Girardot, E Hilary Gustafson, Alexis Perez-Gonzalez, Nicolas Delhomme, Yad Ghavi-Helm, Bartek Wilczyński, Andrew Riddell, Eileen E M Furlong. Tissue-specific analysis of chromatin state identifies temporal signatures of enhancer activity during embryonic development. Nature Genetics, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/ng.1064

Cite This Page:

European Molecular Biology Laboratory. "Tracking genes' remote controls: New method for observing enhancer activity during development." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120109132602.htm>.
European Molecular Biology Laboratory. (2012, January 12). Tracking genes' remote controls: New method for observing enhancer activity during development. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120109132602.htm
European Molecular Biology Laboratory. "Tracking genes' remote controls: New method for observing enhancer activity during development." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120109132602.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre

Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre

AP (July 29, 2014) Food scraps and other items left on the grounds by picnickers brings unwelcome visitors to the grounds of the world famous and popular Louvre Museum in Paris. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jane Goodall Warns Great Apes Face Extinction

Jane Goodall Warns Great Apes Face Extinction

AFP (July 29, 2014) The world's great apes face extinction within decades, renowned chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall warned Tuesday in a call to arms to ensure man's closest relatives are not wiped out. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rat Infestation at Paris' Tuileries Garden

Rat Infestation at Paris' Tuileries Garden

AFP (July 29, 2014) An infestation of rats is causing concern among tourists at Paris' most famous park -- the Tuileries garden next to the Louvre Museum. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
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