Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Light used to switch on gene expression

Date:
May 10, 2012
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
Imagine being able to control genetic expression by flipping a light switch. Researchers are using light-activated molecules to turn gene expression on and off. Their method enables greater precision when studying gene function, and could lead to targeted therapies for diseases like cancer.

Imagine being able to control genetic expression by flipping a light switch. Researchers at North Carolina State University are using light-activated molecules to turn gene expression on and off. Their method enables greater precision when studying gene function, and could lead to targeted therapies for diseases like cancer.

Triplex-forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) are commonly used molecules that can prevent gene transcription by binding to double-stranded DNA. NC State chemist Dr. Alex Deiters wanted to find a way to more precisely control TFOs, and by extension, the transcription of certain genes. So Deiters attached a light-activated "cage" to a TFO. When exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light, the cage is removed, and the TFO is free to bind with DNA, inhibiting transcription of the gene of interest.

"In the absence of light, transcription activity is 100 percent," says Deiters. "When we turn on the light, we can take it down to about 25 percent, which is a significant reduction in gene expression."

Additionally, Deiters fine-tuned the process by attaching a caged inhibitor strand to the TFO. In the absence of UV light, the TFO behaves normally, binding to DNA and preventing gene expression. However, when exposed to UV light, the caged inhibitor activates and stops the TFO from binding with DNA, turning gene transcription on.

"We've created a tool that allows for the light-activation of genetic transcription," Deiters says. "By giving researchers greater temporal and spatial control over gene expression, we've expanded their ability to study the behavior of particular genes in whichever environment they choose."

The research appears online in ACS Chemical Biology, and was funded by the National Institutes of Health. Deiters worked with NC State graduate students Jeane M. Govan, Rajendra Uprety and James Hemphill and Wake Forest University's Mark O. Lively on the research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Carolina State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jeane Govan, Rajendra Uprety, James Hemphill, Mark O. Lively, Alexander Deiters. Regulation of Transcription through Light-Activation and Light-Deactivation of Triplex-Forming Oligonucleotides in Mammalian Cells. ACS Chemical Biology, 2012; 120427104811002 DOI: 10.1021/cb300161r

Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "Light used to switch on gene expression." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120510114107.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2012, May 10). Light used to switch on gene expression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120510114107.htm
North Carolina State University. "Light used to switch on gene expression." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120510114107.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) 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