News from CEXS-UPF
Cellular gene expression depends on the binding of proteins to certain regions of the DNA that contain the mentioned genes. However, DNA is highly compacted in the cell nucleus, forming a complex structure called chromatin, which has limited access to the proteins in charge of regulating gene expression. Previous studies show the existence of proteins that are able to open chromatin regions in order to allow other proteins to bind to genes and regulate their expression. It is the case of FOXA1, a protein that acts in certain types of breast cancer allowing the expression of the estrogen receptor thanks to its ability for "opening" chromatin. FOXA1 is nowadays used in medicine as a breast cancer marker, since it plays a crucial role in the estrogenic stimulation.
According to research led by José Ayté, coordinator of the Molecular Medicine program from the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences (DCEXS) of Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe expresses a protein that can act both as a gene repressor and also as the "chromatin-opener" in order to allow gene activation. The protein, called Fkh2, plays a major role in the reproduction of this yeast species.
Isabel Alves and Elena Hidalgo (UPF) and Roderic Guigó, researcher from the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) and associate professor at UPF, have also taken part in this research.
Isabel Alves-Rodrigues, Pedro G. Ferreira, Alberto Moldón, Ana P. Vivancos, Elena Hidalgo, Roderic Guigó , José Ayté. Spatiotemporal Control of Forkhead Binding to DNA Regulates the Meiotic Gene Expression Program . Cell Reports 14, Febrer 2016. DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.12.074