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.

Related Articles


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 January 30, 2015 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 January 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, January 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Oxfam Calls for Massive Aid for Ebola-Hit West Africa

Oxfam Calls for Massive Aid for Ebola-Hit West Africa

AFP (Jan. 29, 2015) Oxfam International has called for a multi-million dollar post-Ebola "Marshall Plan", with financial support given by wealthy countries, to help Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia to recover. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are We Winning The Fight Against Ebola?

Are We Winning The Fight Against Ebola?

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) The World Health Organization announced the fight against Ebola has entered its second phase as the number of cases per week has steadily dropped. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Calif. Health Officials Campaign Against E-Cigarettes

Calif. Health Officials Campaign Against E-Cigarettes

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) The California Health Department says e-cigarettes are a public health risk for both smokers and those who inhale e-cig smoke secondhand. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Measles Scare Sends 66 Calif. Students Home

Measles Scare Sends 66 Calif. Students Home

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) Officials say 66 students at a Southern California high school have been told to stay home through the end of next week because they may have been exposed to measles and are not vaccinated. (Jan. 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