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Moving an active gene from the interior of the nucleus can silence genes , preventing their transcription . scientists report .
Feb 14, 2008 - 3:59:37 AM

Moving an active gene from the interior of the nucleus to its periphery can inactivate that gene report scientists from the University of Chicago Medical Center .

Attachment to the inner nuclear membrane, they show, can silence genes, preventing their transcription--a novel form of gene regulation.

Several years ago, we and others described the correlation between nuclear positioning and gene activation, said study author Harinder Singh, Louis Block Professor of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology and an Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Chicago.

With that in mind, we wanted to take the next step, to design an experiment that could test causality. Could we move a gene from the center of the nucleus to the periphery, we asked, and then measure the consequences of such repositioning?

In mammalian nuclei, chromatin--a complex of DNA and associated proteins--is organized into structural domains through interactions with distinct nuclear compartments. In this study, the authors developed the molecular tools to take specific genes from these interior compartments, move them to the periphery and attach them to the nuclear membrane--which turned those genes off.

Not only were selected test genes that served as markers turned off after being attached to the inner nuclear membrane, but also nearby real genes the scientists quoted.

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