A study led by the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) showed human genome spatial/structural configuration, revealing how genes interact, communicate, and influence each other, even when they are located far away from each other.
Using the ChIA-PET genomic technology, Yijun Ruan, MD, associate director of Genomic Technologies, uncovered some of the fundamental mechanisms that regulate the gene expression in human cells.
“Scientists have always tried to understand how the large number of genes in an organism is regulated and coordinated to carry out the genetic programs encoded in the genome for cellular functions in our cells. It had been viewed that genes in higher organisms were individually expressed, while multiple related genes in low organisms like bacteria were arranged linearly together as operon and transcribed in single unit,” Ruan explains.
The ENCODE study revealed that although genes in human genomes are located far away from each other, related genes are organized through long-range chromatin interactions and higher-order chromosomal conformations. Such findings suggest a topological basis akin to the bacteria operon system for coordinated transcription regulation, with the mechanism also providing insights to understand genetic elements that are involved in human diseases.
The discovery was published in Cell.
Release Date: Feb. 1, 2012
Source: Genome Institute of Singapore