News of the WeekCell Biology

New Clues to How Genes Are Controlled

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Science  10 Nov 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5494, pp. 1066-1067
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5494.1066b

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Researchers have intriguing new information about how the transcription factor called Pit-1, which is needed to activate the genes for three different hormones, manages to turn on the right gene without activating the other two. Work described on page 1127 shows that a small sequence variation between the regulatory elements of two of the genes causes Pit-1 to bind very differently to them. As a result, when Pit-1 binds to the regulatory region of one of the genes, it apparently attracts proteins that suppress the gene's activity, whereas on the other gene it attracts activating coregulators.