Washington, December 26 (ANI): Scientists at the Stowers Institute have announced the discovery of the mechanism whereby the gene behind the brain's development is regulated by certain protein coding regions.
The researchers say that their finding may be useful in understanding how and where the brain develops some of its unique and important structures.
Describing their work in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, lead researchers Robb Krumlauf and Leanne Wiedemann have revealed that they wanted to understand the "instruction manual" for a Hox gene, which tells the early brain which genes to turn on, and in what order, to specify critical regions of the adult brain.
They said that their study enabled them to discover how expression of the key regulatory protein, encoded by the Hoxa2 gene, is controlled.
The researchers said that the DNA sequence, which contains the instructions about when and where to express Hoxa2 in a segment of the developing brain, overlaps with sequences that code for amino acids of the Hoxa2 protein.
"In the mammalian genome, sequences that encode proteins and those that control gene expression are usually separate from each other. Most approaches to the identification of DNA elements that control gene expression utilize methods that exclude protein coding domains. Our group has now discovered that protein coding regions can also play a role in modulating gene expression. This work has important implications for identifying the regulatory logic contained in mammalian genomes," said Dr. Robb Krumlauf, Scientific Director.
Dr. Leanne Wiedemann, a co-investigator in the Krumlauf Lab and senior author on the publication, said: "Our findings provide important insight into the regulation of the formation of the anterior hindbrain. Additionally, because we now understand that regulatory input from coding regions needs to be considered, our findings have broader implications in helping to design tests and interpret data from large-scale analyses of gene regulation."
The researchers said that they would continue dissecting the regulatory networks and integrating the genes that play a role in hindbrain development using evolutionary comparisons, bioinformatics approaches, and experimental analyses. (ANI)