Scientists demonstrate modulation of gene expression by protein coding regions

Dec 23, 2008

A research team at the Stowers Institute has discovered how the expression of one of the Hox master control genes is regulated in a specific segment of the developing brain. The findings provide important insight into how and where the brain develops some of its unique and important structures.

The findings were posted to the online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science today.

The team led by Robb Krumlauf and Leanne Wiedemann set out to understand the "instruction manual" for a Hox gene that tells the early brain which genes to turn on and in what order, to specify critical regions of the adult brain. Their studies discovered how expression of the key regulatory protein, encoded by the Hoxa2 gene, is controlled. Surprisingly, the DNA sequence that contains the instructions about when and where to express Hoxa2 in a segment of the developing brain overlaps with sequences that code for amino acids of the Hoxa2 protein.

"In the mammalian genome, sequences that encode proteins and those that control gene expression are usually separate from each other," explained Robb Krumlauf, Ph.D., Scientific Director. "Most approaches to the identification of DNA elements that control gene expression utilize methods that exclude protein coding domains. Our group has now discovered that protein coding regions can also play a role in modulating gene expression. This work has important implications for identifying the regulatory logic contained in mammalian genomes."

"Our findings provide important insight into the regulation of the formation of the anterior hindbrain," said Leanne Wiedemann, Ph.D., a co-investigator in the Krumlauf Lab and senior author on the publication. "Additionally, because we now understand that regulatory input from coding regions needs to be considered, our findings have broader implications in helping to design tests and interpret data from large-scale analyses of gene regulation."

Expanding on this work, their lab will continue to dissect the regulatory networks and integrate the genes that play a role in hindbrain development using evolutionary comparisons, bioinformatics approaches, and experimental analyses.

Source: Stowers Institute for Medical Research

Explore further: Refining the language for chromosomes

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Synthetic gene circuits pump up cell signals

Apr 08, 2014

(Phys.org) —Synthetic genetic circuitry created by researchers at Rice University is helping them see, for the first time, how to regulate cell mechanisms that degrade the misfolded proteins implicated ...

More male fish "feminized" by pollution on the Basque coast

Mar 28, 2014

The UPV/EHU's Cell Biology in Environmental Toxicology group has conducted research using thick-lipped grey mullet and has analysed specimens in six zones: Arriluze and Gernika in 2007 and 2008, and since then, Santurtzi, ...

New technique for identifying gene-enhancers

Mar 24, 2014

An international team led by researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has developed a new technique for identifying gene enhancers - sequences of DNA that act to amplify the ...

Recommended for you

Refining the language for chromosomes

2 hours ago

When talking about genetic abnormalities at the DNA level that occur when chromosomes swap, delete or add parts, there is an evolving communication gap both in the science and medical worlds, leading to inconsistencies in ...

Down's chromosome cause genome-wide disruption

21 hours ago

The extra copy of Chromosome 21 that causes Down's syndrome throws a spanner into the workings of all the other chromosomes as well, said a study published Wednesday that surprised its authors.

Research uncovers DNA looping damage tied to HPV cancer

Apr 16, 2014

It's long been known that certain strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) cause cancer. Now, researchers at The Ohio State University have determined a new way that HPV might spark cancer development – by ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Turning off depression in the brain

Scientists have traced vulnerability to depression-like behaviors in mice to out-of-balance electrical activity inside neurons of the brain's reward circuit and experimentally reversed it – but there's ...

Is Parkinson's an autoimmune disease?

The cause of neuronal death in Parkinson's disease is still unknown, but a new study proposes that neurons may be mistaken for foreign invaders and killed by the person's own immune system, similar to the ...