Wednesday, October 25, 2017
How Plants Turn Off Genes They Don't Need
Researchers studied gene regulation in plants, more specifically, Polycomb repression. First found in fruit flies, Polycomb protein complexes resulted in a tightly compact DNA that led to gene silencing. Since Polycomb protein complexes determine the compression of DNA, the complexes aid in determining cells' identities.
Researchers studied a Polycomb protein complex called PRC2 in the plant species Arabidopsis thaliana. They examined 170 segments of DNA, and the researchers found that PRC2 played a role in recruiting more protein complexes to specific parts of the genome in the plant. In the 170 segments of DNA, the researchers found protein complexes that specifically bind to DNA sequences that are responsible for turning DNA into RNA. Also, they discovered that 30 of the 55 protein complexes interacted with the PRC2 protein complex that they were studying.
This discovery was important because there is room for more research on how to grow plants with desirable traits-traits that yield better survival in adverse climates. This study may also provide insight on understanding the expression of diverse plants and potentially animals.