"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.
|Contact: Glenna Picton|
Baylor College of Medicine