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Wisconsin Center of Excellence in Genomics Science established
Date:9/28/2009

and used by the millions of cells in our body. Recent development of novel technologies allows us to study how individual proteins bind and interact with the DNA across the entire genome, and how this interaction varies in different cell types and under different conditions. Unfortunately, this approach only works with proteins that are already known. What is needed, and what we will develop in this Center, is technology that is able to identify all of the proteins that are interacting with the genome, even if we do not know in advance what their function may be."

According to Dr. Smith, "We want to know what sets of genes are turned on and off, and how this is coordinated and controlled. We have DNA sequences for so many organisms, but the big question now is figuring out what they are doing. We have the blueprints, but we don't know how to read them, and gene regulation is front and center to that problem. Can we find the rules for when genes are turned on and off?"

Rather than using the traditional approach of identifying the DNA sequences where regulatory factors bind, the Center will develop novel technologies that identify the proteins that bind to particular DNA regions. Through this approach, investigators may be able to identify entirely new regulatory proteins. The researchers' ultimate goal is to develop a toolbox that can be used to better understand the relationship between changes in protein-DNA interactions and the underlying complex machinery controlling genes. Their approach combines DNA chip technology with very powerful and highly sensitive new instruments for identifying proteins.

"When we figure that out, we can use the information to understand what the rules are; without this information, we are flying blind," says Dr. Smith.

The work of the new Center builds on a long-standing collaboration between the groups at the Medical College and UW-Madison as part of their joint NIH-supported National Center of Proteomics Researc
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Contact: Toranj Marphetia
toranj@mcw.edu
414-456-4744
Medical College of Wisconsin
Source:Eurekalert

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