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Scientists discover key step for regulating embryonic development
Date:4/22/2010

riments, the team worked backward from this observation to show:

  1. A group of proteins called the polycomb repressive complex 1 (PRC1) that silences genes must first bind to a particular methylated address on a histone and,

  2. A key component of the complex must be SUMOylated to make this connection, which results in

  3. the silencing of Gata4 and Gata6, genes that are essential for cardiac development.

  4. In early development, SENP2 works as a switch to turn on Gata4 and Gata6

"When SENP2 is turned on, it peels SUMO off of PRC1, which then falls off the histone, and when that happens, the lock is removed and genes are transcribed," Yeh said. Gata4 and Gata6 are free to properly develop the heart.

In short, SUMO helps the PRC1 complex repress genes, and SENP2 reverses this repression, allowing gene transcription and expression.

"By understanding how development unfolds, we can better control this process, which includes cell proliferation and organ development," Yeh said. "This will help us to better understand cancer.

"SUMO and SENP are important in cancer development, neurological diseases and heart development. Everything under the sun can be regulated by this system," Yeh said. "Here we've established a new role for SUMOylation, mediating the interaction between protein and protein methylation in epigenetic regulation."


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Contact: Scott Merville
smerville@mdanderson.org
713-792-0661
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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