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Maintaining the silenced state of master regulatory genes during development
Published on February 4, 2014 54 min
Other Talks in the Series: Epigenetics, Chromatin, Transcription and Cancer
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- Prof. H. T. Marc Timmers
- University of Utrecht, The Netherlands
The Myc transcription factor network
- Prof. Robert N. Eisenman
- Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, USA
So I'll be talking today about maintaining the silenced state of regulatory genes during development.
For an organism to develop properly, the initial fertilized egg has a bunch of master regulatory genes that are in a naive state. In order for the organism to develop appropriate cell types and cell lineages, in some cells, those master regulatory genes need to be held on. But in most cells, those master regulatory genes need to be held off. This is a classic problem in epigenetic regulation. Exactly the same DNA sequence is found on the master regulatory genes, but in some gene sets, sequence is kept in an on state throughout the entirety of development. Whereas in other cell lineages, that set of genes is kept in an off state. So to understand how we can have a fertilized egg create all of the different body parts that create a normal organism, we have to understand how you can have a regulated state that can be inherited from one cell division to the next. So today I will focus on the repressive side of that equation. How do you repress a gene and then keep it repressed for all different levels of cell division?
This is a problem that's been appreciated for a long time, and it's been studied very thoroughly over the last 80 years. The studies initiated by understanding how Drosophila, the fruit fly, develops. In the fruit fly, you need to go from an embryo to a fly. And which part of the fly is going to be which is established early on in the embryo and then is remembered as the embryo becomes the intact fly.