Navigation Links
Study helps bring genome's 'dark matter' into light

Using technology he helped develop, Vanderbilt University scientist Bryan Venters, Ph.D., has shed new light on the "dark matter" of the genome and has begun to explore a possible new approach to treating cancer.

"Clarity is everything," said Venters, assistant professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics who further developed the high-resolution technology as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Frank Pugh, Ph.D., at Pennsylvania State University before moving to Vanderbilt in January.

Venters and Pugh are co-authors of a paper published this week in the journal Nature that describes their finding.

Much of the DNA of the human genome has been called "dark matter" because only a tiny fraction, about 3 percent, makes up the approximately 20,000 protein-coding genes that are transcribed into RNA copies, and then translated into proteins.

Other parts of the genome are transcribed into non-coding RNA, presumably to perform other functions, but until recently the origin of this non-coding RNA was unknown.

Now, with a technique called ChIP-exo developed at Penn State that identifies protein-DNA interactions at near base-pair resolution, Venters and Pugh have shown that so-called transcription initiation complexes drive much of the non-coding transcription occurring throughout the genome.

In a model leukemia cell line, they discovered about 150,000 complexes along non-coding stretches of the DNA the most ever discovered. This suggests, they concluded, that "pervasive non-coding transcription is promoter-specific, regulated, and not that much different from coding transcription (of genes)."

Venters compared the technique to the highly sensitive satellite cameras that enable web-based map applications to zoom in from a continental view to street level, "and tell house from house."

Now he is using the technique to study "the contribution that the JAK-STAT (signaling) pathway makes to the transformation and proliferation of leukemia cells how the STAT regulatory network dovetails with other oncogenic signaling pathways."

Venters hopes this "high-resolution mapping technique" will enable him to identify at the transcription level the "points of convergence" between different pathways, and thus potential "vulnerability points" that could be targeted with more effective drugs than current therapies.

That's why he came to Vanderbilt, he said, because of the "collegiality" and "proximity to patients and clinicians."

"I wanted my research to be medically relevant and I wanted to make an impact in therapeutic treatments," Venters said. "To me, Vanderbilt is the perfect place to do that."


Contact: Craig Boerner
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Related biology news :

1. Study by UC Santa Barbara researchers suggests that bacteria communicate by touch
2. Law that regulates shark fishery is too liberal: UBC study
3. New study will help protect vulnerable birds from impacts of climate change
4. Study jointly led by UCSB researcher supports theory of extraterrestrial impact
5. BYU study: Using a gun in bear encounters doesnt make you safer
6. 15-year study: When it comes to creating wetlands, Mother Nature is in charge
7. Pycnogenol (French maritime pine bark extract) shown to improve menopause symptoms in new study
8. Crystal structure of archael chromatin clarified in new study
9. EU-funded study underlines importance of Congo Basin for global climate and biodiversity
10. University of Houston study shows BP oil spill hurt marshes, but recovery possible
11. Study demonstrates cells can acquire new functions through transcriptional regulatory network
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/12/2015)... golden retriever that stayed healthy despite having the gene ... new lead for treating this muscle-wasting disorder, report scientists ... and Harvard and the University of São Paolo in ... pinpoints a protective gene that boosts muscle regeneration, ... Children,s lab of Lou Kunkel , PhD, is ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... Nov. 10, 2015  In this report, ... basis of product, type, application, disease indication, ... this report are consumables, services, software. The ... safety biomarkers, efficacy biomarkers, and validation biomarkers. ... are diagnostics development, drug discovery and development, ...
(Date:11/4/2015)... 2015 --> ... by Transparency Market Research "Home Security Solutions Market - Global ... - 2022", the global home security solutions market is expected to ... The market is estimated to expand at a CAGR ... 2022. Rising security needs among customers at homes, the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... 2015 Cepheid (Nasdaq: CPHD ) today ... Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference in New York ... reaffirming its outlook for the fourth quarter of 2015 ... discussing longer term business model expectations. John ... continue to be the fastest growing company of the ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... 1, 2015 ... "2016 U.K. Virology and Bacteriology Testing Market: ... Tests, Supplier Shares by Test, Innovative Technologies, ... offering.  --> ) has ... Virology and Bacteriology Testing Market: Sales and ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... ... Global Stem Cells Group announced the opening of a new core patient care ... in northern Chile. The facilities are part of GSCG’s expansion efforts in Latin America. ... stem cell medicine to patients from around the world. , The clinics will be headed ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 30, 2015  Culprits beware, a University at ... Jan Halámek, is taking crime scene fingerprint identification ...   -->   --> ... --> --> Halámek and ... a straightforward concept for identifying whether a culprit ...
Breaking Biology Technology: