Scientists find gene turn-off

Apr 15, 2006

Researchers at Philadelphia's Wistar Institute have found what appears to be a mechanism for ensuring that genes that are switched off stay off.

At any given time, only about 10 percent of the genes in the human body are activated. Keeping genes silent is crucial to preventing cancer and protecting the organism from viruses.

"We've discovered what looks to be an evolutionarily ancient mechanism for broadly repressing and protecting the genome," said Shelley L. Berger, the senior author on the study. "We believe it to be the first identified mechanism of its kind."

Working with yeast, the research team discovered that a protein called SUMO binds to histones, small proteins around which DNA coils. This suppresses gene activation and prevents gene transcription.

Berger said gene regulation mechanisms found in yeast are often discovered in mammals, remaining almost unchanged even though the evolutionary split occurred millions of years ago.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Study simulates changes to admissions criteria for NYC's specialized high schools

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Korean tech start-ups offer life beyond Samsung

Feb 23, 2015

As an engineering major at Seoul's Yonsei University, Yoon Ja-Young was perfectly poised to follow the secure, lucrative and socially prized career path long-favoured by South Korea's elite graduates.

Fresh nuclear leak detected at Fukushima plant

Feb 22, 2015

Sensors at the Fukushima nuclear plant have detected a fresh leak of highly radioactive water to the sea, the plant's operator announced Sunday, highlighting difficulties in decommissioning the crippled plant.

Spacewalking astronauts route cable in 1st of 3 jobs

Feb 22, 2015

(AP)—Spacewalking astronauts routed more than 300 feet (90 meters) of cable outside the International Space Station on Saturday, tricky and tiring advance work for the arrival of new American-made crew ...

Recommended for you

Thomas Edison's 'lost' idea: A device to hear the dead

2 hours ago

One of Thomas Edison's little-known ambitions was to build a device to hear the voices of the dead, according to a nearly lost chapter of the inventor's memoirs which is being republished in France this week.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.