R-Loops Break Walls Of Gene Silencing
By - - MNT - MEDICAL NEWS TODAY
Added: Tue, 06 Mar 2012 15:20:04 UTC
Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have figured out how the human body keeps essential genes switched "on" and silences the vast stretches of genetic repeats and "junk" DNA.
Frédéric Chédin, associate professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, describes the research in a paper published in the journal Molecular Cell. The work could lead to treatments for lupus and other autoimmune diseases, by reversing the gene-silencing process known as cytosine methylation.
"R-loops" are the key, say graduate student Paul Ginno, Chédin and colleagues. The loops emerge in the RNA transcription process in DNA sections that are rich in cytosine and guanine, the C and G in the four-letter DNA code. These C and G stretches serve as "on" switches, or promoters, for about 60 percent of human genes.
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