Navigation Links
Surprisingly stable long-distance relationships
Date:7/3/2014

Contrary to what was thought, sequences of DNA called enhancers which control a gene's output find their targets long before they are activated during embryonic development, scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, have found. Their study, published online today in Nature, also reveals that, surprisingly, the degree of complexity of enhancers' interactions in the 'simple' fruit fly Drosophila is comparable to what is seen in vertebrates.

"As an embryo develops, there are huge changes in transcription, much of which drives developmental progression: genes are changing from on to off, and off to on but the contacts between enhancers and their target genes remain largely unchanged," says Eileen Furlong from EMBL, who led the work. "Enhancers regulate transcription, so it was really surprising that there are few changes in their interactions at a time when transcription is changing."

To activate a gene, an enhancer has to come into contact with the portion of DNA at the start of the gene its promoter. For enhancers that are located far away from their targets, the cell achieves this by looping the DNA around to bring about that contact. Yad Ghavi-Helm, a postdoctoral fellow in Furlong's lab, found that, in developing fruit fly embryos, these DNA loops are formed, contact is established, and the cell's gene-reading machinery is recruited, hours before the gene is expressed. The results indicate that the whole system is primed in advance, ready to spring to action when needed.

When they looked at all the enhancers that are known in Drosophila and mapped what genes they establish contacts with, the EMBL scientists discovered that these genetic regulators act across long distances in the genome, and in complex ways. Such a prevalence of long-distance action and such complex interactions were previously known to be widespread among vertebrates, but these findings show that they evolved much earlier.

For Furlong, Ghavi-Helm and colleagues, the study opens up a plethora of further questions: At what point in an embryo's life do enhancer loops form? And how long after a gene has been switched off do the loops remain? If loop formation isn't the trigger for gene activation, what is? What's the exact role of the contacts they have found? And finally, a technically challenging question: unravelling if all an enhancer's interactions are happening at the same time in the same cell.


'/>"/>

Contact: Sonia Furtado Neves
sonia.furtado@embl.de
European Molecular Biology Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Despite their thick skins, alligators and crocodiles are surprisingly touchy
2. Climate changes effects on temperate rain forests surprisingly complex
3. Computer modeling reveals how surprisingly potent hepatitis C drug works
4. Bats and whales behave in surprisingly similar ways
5. Feral cats avoid urban coyotes, are surprisingly healthy
6. Post-Sandy, Long Island barrier systems appear surprisingly sound
7. Coral reefs in Palau surprisingly resistant to naturally acidified waters
8. Palaus coral reefs surprisingly resistant to ocean acidification
9. Immunosignaturing: An accurate, affordable and stable diagnostic
10. A new breed of stable anti-aromatic compound
11. Treating stable flies in pastures
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/24/2017)... 2017 Janice Kephart , former ... Strategy Partners, LLP (IdSP) , today issues the ... Trump,s March 6, 2017 Executive Order: Protecting ... can be instilled with greater confidence, enabling the ... refugee applications are suspended by until at least ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... April 13, 2017 UBM,s Advanced Design and ... will feature emerging and evolving technology through its 3D ... will run alongside the expo portion of the event ... and demonstrations focused on trending topics within 3D printing ... and manufacturing event will take place June 13-15, 2017 at ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 No ... but researchers at the New York University Tandon ... of Engineering have found that partial similarities between ... systems used in mobile phones and other electronic ... The vulnerability lies in the fact ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 25, 2017 , ... Throughout this webinar, participants will ... process development and economic goals were achieved in both industry and academic settings. ... system, along with techniques for scaling production of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and ...
(Date:5/24/2017)... ... May 24, 2017 , ... Benchworks ... the Mid-Atlantic chapter of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA). Nominated by ... Mid-Atlantic chapter board meets in person once each quarter and holds monthly conference ...
(Date:5/24/2017)... ... 23, 2017 , ... Federal funding for basic and applied scientific research — ... and other vital technologies — deserves continued support, say leaders of SPIE, the ... today in responding to the President’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2018. , The ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Firmex today announced the general ... for organizations to send and gather large files and confidential documents beyond the ... size limitations. , Using the same market-tested infrastructure as Firmex’s flagship Virtual ...
Breaking Biology Technology: