Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The genome's 3-D structure shapes how genes are expressed

Date:
June 23, 2013
Source:
Garvan Institute of Medical Research
Summary:
Scientists bring new insights to our understanding of the three-dimensional structure of the genome, one of the biggest challenges currently facing the fields of genomics and genetics.

Rendering of chromosomes.
Credit: zentilia / Fotolia

Scientists from Australia and the United States bring new insights to our understanding of the three-dimensional structure of the genome, one of the biggest challenges currently facing the fields of genomics and genetics. Their findings are published in Nature Genetics, online today.

Roughly 3 metres of DNA is tightly folded into the nucleus of every cell in our body. This folding allows some genes to be 'expressed', or activated, while excluding others.

Dr Tim Mercer and Professor John Mattick from Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research and Professor John Stamatoyannopoulos from Seattle's University of Washington analysed the genome's 3D structure, at high resolution.

Genes are made up of 'exons' and 'introns' - the former being the sequences that code for protein and are expressed, and the latter being stretches of noncoding DNA in-between. As the genes are copied, or 'transcribed', from DNA into RNA, the intron sequences are cut or 'spliced' out and the remaining exons are strung together to form a sequence that encodes a protein. Depending on which exons are strung together, the same gene can generate different proteins.

Using vast amounts of data from the ENCODE project*, Dr Tim Mercer and colleagues have inferred the folding of the genome, finding that even within a gene, selected exons are easily exposed.

"Imagine a long and immensely convoluted grape vine, its twisted branches presenting some grapes to be plucked easily, while concealing others beyond reach," said Dr Mercer. "At the same time, imagine a lazy fruit picker only picking the grapes within easy reach.

"The same principle applies in the genome. Specific genes and even specific exons, are placed within easy reach by folding."

"Over the last few years, we've been starting to appreciate just how the folding of the genome helps determine how it's expressed and regulated,"

"This study provides the first indication that the three-dimensional structure of the genome can influence the splicing of genes."

"We can infer that the genome is folded in such a way that the promoter region -- the sequence that initiates transcription of a gene -- is located alongside exons, and they are all presented to transcription machinery."

"This supports a new way of looking at things, one that the genome is folded around transcription machinery, rather than the other way around. Those genes that come in contact with the transcription machinery get transcribed, while those parts which loop away are ignored."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Garvan Institute of Medical Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tim R Mercer, Stacey L Edwards, Michael B Clark, Shane J Neph, Hao Wang, Andrew B Stergachis, Sam John, Richard Sandstrom, Guoliang Li, Kuljeet S Sandhu, Yijun Ruan, Lars K Nielsen, John S Mattick, John A Stamatoyannopoulos. DNase I–hypersensitive exons colocalize with promoters and distal regulatory elements. Nature Genetics, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/ng.2677

Cite This Page:

Garvan Institute of Medical Research. "The genome's 3-D structure shapes how genes are expressed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130623145058.htm>.
Garvan Institute of Medical Research. (2013, June 23). The genome's 3-D structure shapes how genes are expressed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130623145058.htm
Garvan Institute of Medical Research. "The genome's 3-D structure shapes how genes are expressed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130623145058.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 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:

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