A team led by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and the Czech Academy of Sciences has uncovered a new piece of the puzzle of how gene expression is orchestrated. Published in the journal Science, the findings reveal a novel mechanism that coordinates the assembly of components inside cells that control gene expression.
The mechanism not only is essential for normal cell function, but also has been implicated in cancer, neurodegeneration and HIV infection, and could suggest new ways to treat these conditions.
In previous work with colleagues at KU Leuven in Belgium, the team had studied protein interactions in leukemia and HIV infection, specifically those mediated by protein regions called TFIIS N-terminal domains (TNDs).
In the current study, the researchers extended the study of TNDs and found them in many other proteins.
Everywhere we looked, we found these domains, in particular in the machinery that regulates transcription elongation, one of the first steps of gene expression in all human cells.