GENE REGULATION

Insulin secretion organized in the nucleus

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Science  28 Nov 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6213, pp. 1075
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6213.1075-e

Cells can modify gene expression by changing the spatial and physical landscape of DNA in the nucleus. This allows a gene to influence the expression of another gene that may be located several megabases down the chromosome. With this in mind and to find new genes that may influence how insulin functions, Xu et al. looked for genes that physically contacted the insulin gene in human pancreatic beta cells, cells that make and store insulin. They found that the insulin promoter contacted and regulated the ANO1 gene, located more than half a chromosome away, which encodes a calcium-activated chloride channel. Glucose increased ANO1 expression, and loss of ANO1 inhibited insulin secretion.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1419240111 (2014).

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