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Throwing a loop to silence gene expression
Date:9/2/2014

igenetic silencing. "The silencing mechanism we found works much like throwing a loop with a lasso to catch something", says Katharina Mller-Ott, the first author of the study: "Several factors bind the silencing enzyme stably to certain sites in the genome. Because the DNA randomly moves around and forms transient loops, the enzyme hits other regions in the genome nearby, which then become modified and are switched off."

By virtue of their quantitative description of this process, the researchers were able to predict how the silencing network would react in response to perturbations like changes of the abundance of proteins or the activity of the enzymes involved. The scientists in the groups of Karsten Rippe and Thomas Hfer at the DKFZ are now continuing to further develop and apply their model to deregulated epigenetic signaling in leukemia. By evaluating genome-wide maps of epigenetic signals with mathematical models they are identifying tumor-specific changes in cell samples from patients with blood cancer. Furthermore, they are dissecting how epigenetic signals can be used to predict therapy response and how drugs affect the epigenetic program.


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Contact: Dr. Sibylle Kohlstädt
s.kohlstaedt@dkfz.de
German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ)
Source:Eurekalert

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