Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Communities
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 2,600+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 3,800+ 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

The Switch That Might Tame The Most Aggressive Of Breast Cancers
Garvan researchers have found that so-called ‘triple-negative breast cancers’ are two distinct diseases that likely originate from different cell types. They have also found a gene that drives the aggressive disease, and hope to find a way to ‘switch it off’.
Monday, March 30, 2015
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
Powerful Tool Promises To Change The Way Scientists View Proteins
Aquaria, a publicly available web resource that streamlines and simplifies the process of gleaning insight from 3D protein structures, is fast, easy-to-use and contains twice as many models as all other similar resources combined.
Friday, January 30, 2015
Nanotechnology Helps Track and Improve Drug Action in Pancreatic Cancer
Scientists have been able to show ways in which we can markedly improve drug targeting of solid tumours, using ‘biosensors’ along with imaging techniques.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Insight into the Dazzling Impact of Insulin in Cells
Australian scientists have charted the path of insulin action in cells in precise detail like never before.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Scientific News
Genetic Defences of Bacteria Don’t Aid Antibiotic Resistance
Genetic responses to the stresses caused by antibiotics don’t help bacteria to evolve a resistance to the medications, according to a new study by Oxford University researchers.
Detecting HIV Diagnostic Antibodies with DNA Nanomachines
New research may revolutionize the slow, cumbersome and expensive process of detecting the antibodies that can help with the diagnosis of infectious and auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and HIV.
Snapshot Turns T Cell Immunology on its Head
New research may have implications for 1 diabetes sufferers.
Tolerant Immune System Increases Cancer Risk
Researchers have found that individuals with high immunoCRIT ratios may have an increased risk of developing certain cancers.
Developing a Gel that Mimics Human Breast for Cancer Research
Scientists at the Universities of Manchester and Nottingham have been funded to develop a gel that will match many of the biological structures of human breast tissue, to advance cancer research and reduce animal testing.
Cell's Waste Disposal System Regulates Body Clock Proteins
New way to identify interacting proteins could identify potential drug targets.
New Approach to Treating Heparin-induced Blood Disorder
A potential treatment for a serious clotting condition that can strike patients who receive heparin to treat or prevent blood clots may lie within reach by elucidating the structure of the protein complex at its root.
Horse Illness Shares Signs of Human Disease
Horses with a rare nerve condition have similar signs of disease as people with conditions such as Alzheimer’s, a study has found.
How a Molecular Motor Untangles Protein
Diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and prion diseases, all involve “tangled” proteins.
Compound Doubles Up On Cancer Detection
Researchers have found that tagging a pair of markers found almost exclusively on a common brain cancer yields a cancer signal that is both more obvious and more specific to cancer.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
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
2,600+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos