Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

DNA's twisted communication

Date:
February 28, 2013
Source:
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)
Summary:
Gene expression needs to be finely controlled during embryo development. Fgf8 is one of these regulation factors that control how the limbs, the head and the brain grow. Researchers have elucidated how Fgf8 in mammal embryos is, itself, controlled by a series of interdependent regulatory elements. Their findings shed new light on the importance of the genome’s architecture for gene regulation.

Visualisation (in blue) of the activity of the Fgf8 regulatory region in a mouse embryo.
Credit: EMBL/ Mirna Marinic

Gene expression needs to be finely controlled during embryo development. Fgf8 is one of these regulation factors that control how the limbs, the head and the brain grow. Researchers at EMBL have elucidated how Fgf8 in mammal embryos is, itself, controlled by a series of interdependent regulatory elements. Their findings, published February 28 in Developmental Cell, shed new light on the importance of the genome's architecture for gene regulation.

During embryo development, genes are dynamically, and very precisely, switched on and off to confer different properties to different cells and build a well-proportioned and healthy animal. Fgf8 is one of the key genes in this process, controlling in particular the growth of the limbs and the formation of the different regions of the brain. Researchers at EMBL have elucidated how Fgf8 in mammal embryos is, itself, controlled by a series of multiple, interdependent regulatory elements.

Fgf8 is controlled by a large number of regulatory elements that are clustered in the same large region of the genome and are interspersed with other, unrelated genes. Both the sequences and the intricate genomic arrangement of these elements have remained very stable throughout evolution, thus proving their importance. By selectively changing the relative positioning of the regulatory elements, the researchers were able to modify their combined impact on Fgf8, and therefore drastically affect the embryo.

"We showed that the surprisingly complex organisation of this genomic region is a key aspect of the regulation of Fgf8," explains Franηois Spitz, who led the study at EMBL. "Fgf8 responds to the input of specific regulatory elements, and not to others, because it sits at a special place, not because it is a special gene. How the regulatory elements contribute to activate a gene is not determined by a specific recognition tag, but by where precisely the gene is in the genome."

Scientists are still looking into the molecular details of this regulatory mechanism. It is likely that the way DNA folds in 3D could, under certain circumstances, bring different sets of regulatory elements in contact with each other and with Fgf8, to trigger or prevent gene expression. These findings highlight a level of complexity of gene regulation that is often overlooked. Regulatory elements are not engaged in a one-to-one relationship with the specific gene that has the appropriate DNA sequence. The local genomic organisation, and 3D folding of DNA, might actually be more important factors that both modulate the action of regulation elements, and put them in contact with their target gene.

More research will be necessary to understand in detail the impact of the 3D structure of DNA on the communication between the various elements of the genome, and on the regulation of gene expression. Further down the line, this could also further our understanding of how genomic rearrangements might disrupt these 3D regulatory networks and lead to diseases and malformations.


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.


Cite This Page:

European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). "DNA's twisted communication." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130228124047.htm>.
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). (2013, February 28). DNA's twisted communication. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130228124047.htm
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). "DNA's twisted communication." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130228124047.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) — An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) — A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) — Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

AFP (July 19, 2014) — As if it weren't enough that the Queen is the Sovereign of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms, she is also the owner of all Britain's unmarked swans. Duration: 02:18 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