Milestone in understanding regulation of gene transcription

The expression of our genes is tightly regulated by the action of enhancers, DNA sequences that activate the transcription of a gene into messenger RNA. Enhancers recruit a host of proteins and were long thought to require the action of the same cofactor proteins to work, making the transcription machinery highly vulnerable to disturbance. Scientists at the IMP challenged this idea and found that enhancers linked to some vital genes function without broadly utilised cofactors - they activate transcription through alternative mechanisms. The findings are now published in the journal Nature.

A young man and a young woman stand back to back and smile at the camera.
Co-first authors Christoph Neumayr and Vanja Haberle (Credit: IMP)

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