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Ronin recruits protein 'allies' to sustain embryonic stem cell growth
Date:6/24/2010

esses. In a list of 100 most conserved genetic regions, this DNA sequence ranked fourth in frequency. In this case, researchers believe that the small DNA strand bound to a transcription factor that they had not identified. (A transcription factor governs translation of the DNA message in a gene into RNA, which can then be used by the cell's machinery as a template for a protein.)

"Ronin is that factor," said Zwaka. "Ronin binds to the 'hyperconserved enhancer element' sequence and then recruits Hcf-1. Only if it recruits Hcf-1 do we get activation of the special gene growth program."

With this highly conserved enhancer element, the Ronin/Hcf-1 combination controls a specific growth program of genes that are required in the early formation of an embryo, stem cells and maybe in some tumor cells, he said.

"When you look at the target genes of Ronin/Hcf-1, all are in the category of protein metabolism," he said.

Embryonic stem cells are characterized by rapid growth and renewal.

"Graduate students complain that they have to split and feed the cells every day. If you don't supply them with fresh medium, they die because they use it all up. It is important to understand what underlies this prolific growth," he said.

Understanding that could help scientists growth the cells better in the laboratory. Cancer growth, in many ways, simulates that of embryonic stem cells, he said. Understanding the growth program made up of 1,000 or more genes regulated by Ronin/Hcf-1 could help determine new strategies for fighting tumors.


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Contact: Glenna Picton
picton@gmail.com
713-798-4710
Baylor College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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