Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Genotyping & Gene Expression
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

The Genome’s 3D Structure Shapes how Genes are Expressed

Published: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Last Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Scientists bring new insights to our understanding of the three-dimensional structure of the genome.

Roughly 3 metres of DNA is tightly folded into the nucleus of every cell in our body. This folding allows some genes to be ‘expressed’, or activated, while excluding others.

Dr Tim Mercer and Professor John Mattick from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research and Professor John Stamatoyannopoulos from Seattle’s University of Washington analysed the genome’s 3D structure, at high resolution.

Genes are made up of  ‘exons’ and ‘introns’ – the former being the sequences that code for protein and are expressed, and the latter being stretches of noncoding DNA in-between. As the genes are copied, or ‘transcribed’, from DNA into RNA, the intron sequences are cut or ‘spliced’ out and the remaining exons are strung together to form a sequence that encodes a protein. Depending on which exons are strung together, the same gene can generate different proteins.

Using vast amounts of data from the ENCODE project*, Dr Tim Mercer and colleagues have inferred the folding of the genome, finding that even within a gene, selected exons are easily exposed.

“Imagine a long and immensely convoluted grape vine, its twisted branches presenting some grapes to be plucked easily, while concealing others beyond reach,” said Dr Mercer. “At the same time, imagine a lazy fruit picker only picking the grapes within easy reach.

“The same principle applies in the genome. Specific genes and even specific exons, are placed within easy reach by folding.”

“Over the last few years, we’ve been starting to appreciate just how the folding of the genome helps determine how it’s expressed and regulated,”

“This study provides the first indication that the three-dimensional structure of the genome can influence the splicing of genes.”

“We can infer that the genome is folded in such a way that the promoter region — the sequence that initiates transcription of a gene — is located alongside exons, and they are all presented to transcription machinery.”

“This supports a new way of looking at things, one that the genome is folded around transcription machinery, rather than the other way around. Those genes that come in contact with the transcription machinery get transcribed, while those parts which loop away are ignored.”

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Epigenetic Signatures that Differentiate Triple-Negative Breast Cancers
Australian researchers have identified epigenetic ‘signatures’ that could help clinicians tell the difference between highly aggressive and more benign forms of triple-negative breast cancer.
Tuesday, February 03, 2015
Scientific News
Genetic Basis of Fatal Flu Side Effect Discovered
A group of people with fatal H1N1 flu died after their viral infections triggered a deadly hyperinflammatory disorder in susceptible individuals with gene mutations linked to the overactive immune response, according to a recent study.
New Class of RNA Tumor Suppressors Identified
Two short, “housekeeping” RNA molecules block cancer growth by binding to an important cancer-associated protein called KRAS. More than a quarter of all human cancers are missing these RNAs.
Mathematical Model Forecasts the Path of Breast Cancer
Chances of survival depend on which organs breast cancer tumors colonize first.
Ancient Viral Molecules Essential for Human Development
Genetic material from ancient viral infections is critical to human development, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
Measuring microRNAs in Blood to Speed Cancer Detection
A simple, ultrasensitive microRNA sensor holds promise for the design of new diagnostic strategies and, potentially, for the prognosis and treatment of pancreatic and other cancers.
Personalized Drug Screening for Multiple Myeloma Patients
A personalized method for testing the effectiveness of drugs that treat multiple myeloma may predict quickly and more accurately the best treatments for individual patients with the bone marrow cancer.
Metabolic Profiles Distinguish Early Stage Ovarian Cancer with Unprecedented Accuracy
Studying blood serum compounds of different molecular weights has led scientists to a set of biomarkers that may enable development of a highly accurate screening test for early-stage ovarian cancer.
New Way to Force Stem Cells to Become Bone Cells
Potential therapies based on this discovery could help people heal bone injuries or set hardware, such as replacement knees and hips.
Promise of Newborn Stem Cells to Revolutionize Clinical Practice
In this article Shweta Sharma, PhD, discusses the potential of an Umbilical Cord Blood bank as an untapped source of samples for research and clinical trials.
New Anti-Malarial Drug Screening Model
University of South Florida researchers demonstrate novel chemogenomic profiling to identify drug targets for the most lethal strain of malaria.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos