"Obviously, this complex regulation of genes requires a large number of different proteins, and many of them we do not even know yet," Olivier said. "This is why we are trying to develop a method that allows us to look at one specific piece of DNA, such as one gene, and to identify all the proteins that are bound to that particular sequence."
Once the sequence has been isolated, the bound proteins can be identified by a technology called mass spectrometry that uses advanced sensitive instrumentation to detect small amounts of proteins. In collaboration with Joanne Curran, Ph.D., Harald Gring, Ph.D., and John Blangero, Ph.D., in the Texas Biomed Department of Genetics, and Dr. Lloyd Smith, Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Wisconsin Genome Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Dr. Olivier will exploit this new methodology to examine cells from members of the San Antonio Family Study. Here, they will identify proteins that regulate genes important in the regulation of cholesterol and other risk factors for heart disease.
Previous studies have helped identify changes in the DNA sequence of study participants that raise their cholesterol levels, which increases their risk for heart attacks or strokes. This new study will now identify how these sequence changes modify the regulation of specific genes, and which proteins are important in that regulation.
"Identifying the proteins that are important for this regulation of genes will not only help us understand how these sequence changes lead to higher cholesterol levels in these participants, it will also help us to identify new drugs that may help correct these changes, and help reduce the risk for a heart attack o
|Contact: Mary Uhlig|
Texas Biomedical Research Institute