Researchers at the University of Tokyo have identified how the architecture of the cell nucleus can change gene activity in plants. This discovery reveals fundamental knowledge about genome regulation and points towards future methods for potentially manipulating the expression of many genes simultaneously.
The long strands of DNA and the protein machinery needed to turn gene expression on or off are contained, floating within the nuclei of cells. The nucleus is essentially a sack made of a flexible, double-membrane envelope that is supported by an inner, fine-mesh frame of proteins called the nuclear lamina.
“DNA does not drift aimlessly within the nucleus. We expect that there is nonrandom spatial positioning of genes around the nuclear lamina,” said Professor Sachihiro Matsunaga who led the research project from the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, recently published in Nature Communications.
Gene regulation is often studied at the one-dimensional level