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TRANS-REG — Result In Brief

Project ID: 502950
Country: Greece

The dynamics of gene expression regulation

A European network worked to provide a more comprehensive view of the processes regulating gene expression. The information generated is expected to help understand how gene regulation may be implicated in health and disease.
The dynamics of gene expression regulation
Gene expression regulation is a complex process that takes place at various levels and involves many factors. The main regulatory step occurs at transcription where DNA is converted to mRNA that will eventually be translated to protein. Our understanding of how RNA polymerase ll – the enzyme responsible for transcription – is associated with transcription factor complexes and how these components move around in the nucleus is limited.

To obtain further insight into the process of transcriptional regulation, the EU-funded ‘Transcription complex dynamics controlling specific gene expression programs’ (TRANS-REG) project used model genes activated during cell differentiation, proliferation and signal transduction. Project partners followed a multidisciplinary experimental approach using fluorescence imaging techniques alongside genetic, proteomic and biochemical analyses methods.

Drosophila and yeast strains with mutations on specific subunits of transcription complexes were developed and used to assess the functional roles of the individual proteins in the process of transcription. Additional tools were generated that led to the identification of new components of the transcription machinery, such as tumour angiogenic factors (TAFs), and the delineation of their interactions.

Using these tools, scientists were able to determine that TAFs could move from the cytoplasm to the nucleus in response to Ras signalling and intriguingly, to modify the activity of the complexes they belong to.

A further significant achievement of the project was the finding that genes could move around in specific nuclear regions depending on their activity. This indicated an additional level of gene regulation.

TRANS-REG project efforts provided novel insight into the process of gene regulation by discovering novel factors and processes that control the activation of genes in a spatially and temporally regulated manner.

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