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Einstein researchers take the pulse of a gene in living cells

g we observed in this gene would allow it to very precisely regulate development," says Dr. Singer, the study's senior author and professor and co-chair of the Department of Anatomy & Structural Biology at Einstein. He likens a gene to a thermostat:

"Heating a home all the time would be wasteful and would overheat the house," he says. "The solution is a thermostat, which injects a little bit of heat when needed and then turns off. Similarly, a cell needs the gene to be turned on--but too much activity at the wrong time can be a problem, so the solution is to have small bursts of activity."

Still to be discovered, says Dr. Singer, is how the pulsing mechanism itself is controlled. In addition, these findings pertain to developmental genes, which are turned on selectively and only in certain tissues. "Other genes--so-called constitutive genes--are regularly expressed by all the cells of an organism," Dr. Singer notes. "We'd like to find out whether these genes pulse as well."

Also involved in this study were Jonathan R. Chubb (now at University of Dundee in the U.K.), Tatjana Trcek and Shailesh M. Shenoy.


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Source:Albert Einstein College of Medicine


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