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 September 17, 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 September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 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