Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Learning the alphabet of gene control

Date:
January 17, 2013
Source:
Karolinska Institutet
Summary:
Scientists have made a large step towards the understanding of how human genes are regulated. They have now identified the DNA sequences that bind to over four hundred proteins that control expression of genes. This knowledge is required to understand how differences in genomes of individuals affect their risk to develop disease.

Scientists at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have made a large step towards the understanding of how human genes are regulated. In a new study, published in the journal Cell, they identified the DNA sequences that bind to over four hundred proteins that control expression of genes. This knowledge is required for understanding of how differences in genomes of individuals affect their risk to develop disease.

After the human genome was sequenced in 2000, it was hoped that the knowledge of the entire sequence of human DNA could rapidly be translated to medical benefits such as novel drugs, and predictive tools that would identify individuals at risk of disease. This however turned out to be harder than anticipated, one of the reasons being that only 1 percent of the genome that code for proteins was in fact possible to read. The remaining part, much of which describes how these proteins should be expressed in different cells and tissues, could not be understood. This, in turn, because the scientists did not know which DNA sequences are functional, and bind to the specific proteins called transcription factors that regulate gene expression.

"The genome is like a book written in a foreign language, we know the letters but cannot understand why a human genome makes a human or the mouse genome a mouse," says Professor Jussi Taipale, who led the study at the Department of Biosciences and Nutrition. "Why some individuals have higher risk to develop common diseases such as heart disease or cancer has been even less understood."

The human genome encodes approximately 1000 transcription factors, and they bind specifically to short sequences of DNA, and control the production of other proteins. In the work published in Cell, the scientists at Karolinska Institutet describe DNA sequences that bind to over 400 such proteins, representing approximately half of all human transcription factors. Data was generated with a new method that uses a modern DNA sequencer that produces hundreds of millions of sequences, giving the results unprecedented accuracy and reliability.

In addition, binding specificities of human transcription factors were compared to those of the mouse. Surprisingly, no differences were found. According to the scientists, these results suggest that the basic machinery of gene expression is similar in humans and mice, and that the differences in size and shape are caused not by differences in transcription factor proteins, but by presence or absence of the specific sequences that bind to them.

"Taken together, the work represents a large step towards deciphering the code that controls gene expression, and provides an invaluable resource to scientists all over the world to further understand the function of the whole human genome," says Professor Taipale. "The resulting increase in our ability to read the genome will also improve our ability to translate the rapidly accumulating genomic information to medical benefits.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Karolinska Institutet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Arttu Jolma, Jian Yan, Thomas Whitington, Jarkko Toivonen, KazuhiroR. Nitta, Pasi Rastas, Ekaterina Morgunova, Martin Enge, Mikko Taipale, Gonghong Wei, Kimmo Palin, JuanM. Vaquerizas, Renaud Vincentelli, NicholasM. Luscombe, TimothyR. Hughes, Patrick Lemaire, Esko Ukkonen, Teemu Kivioja, Jussi Taipale. DNA-Binding Specificities of Human Transcription Factors. Cell, 2013; 152 (1-2): 327 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2012.12.009

Cite This Page:

Karolinska Institutet. "Learning the alphabet of gene control." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130117133126.htm>.
Karolinska Institutet. (2013, January 17). Learning the alphabet of gene control. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130117133126.htm
Karolinska Institutet. "Learning the alphabet of gene control." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130117133126.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

AFP (Aug. 21, 2014) Two American missionaries who were sickened with Ebola while working in Liberia and were treated with an experimental drug are doing better and have left the hospital, doctors say on August 21, 2014. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
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