Cis-Regulatory Timers for Developmental Gene Expression

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

How does a fertilized egg decode its own genome to eventually develop into a mature animal? Each developing cell must activate a battery of genes in a timely manner and according to the function it will ultimately perform, but how? During development of the notochord-a structure akin to the vertebrate spine-in a simple marine invertebrate, an essential protein called Brachyury binds to specific sites in its target genes. A study just published in PLOS Biology reports that if the target gene contains multiple Brachyury-binding sites it will be activated early in development but if it contains only one site it will be activated later. Genes that contain no binding site can still be activated by Brachyury, but only indirectly by an earlier Brachyury-dependent gene product, so later than the directly activated genes. Thus, this study shows how several genes can interpret the presence of a single factor differently to become active at distinct times in development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1001698
JournalPLoS Biology
Volume11
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

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Developmental Genes
timers
Gene expression
Genes
Gene Expression
gene expression
genes
binding sites
Binding Sites
Notochord
Zygote
spine (bones)
Invertebrates
early development
Vertebrates
Spine
invertebrates
vertebrates
Genome
Animals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Cis-Regulatory Timers for Developmental Gene Expression. / Christiaen, Lionel.

In: PLoS Biology, Vol. 11, No. 10, e1001698, 2013.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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