Magazine article USA TODAY

Pathway Identification Imperils Disease

Magazine article USA TODAY

Pathway Identification Imperils Disease

Article excerpt

The development of a technique for identifying control elements that drive the expression of genes in brain cells could unleash the disease-fighting potential of the much-hailed human genome, maintains a study by Oregon Health & Science University, Portland.

"The question was how to understand the enormous amount of genomic information that has been generated," explains Richard Goodman, professor of cell and developmental biology. "Our approach will help unlock the regulatory control of the genome," as well as heighten understanding of the pathways behind genetic aberrations that cause diabetes, Parkinson's disease, heart disease, cancer, and other maladies.

The technique, developed in collaboration with scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, N.Y., and State University of New York, Stony Brook, resulted from attempting to characterize a family of genes regulated by the "cAMP response element binding" protein, or CREB. This well-characterized molecule is among a group of proteins called transcription factors that interact with regulatory elements in DNA that are responsible for increasing or decreasing the level of gene expression in cells. …

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