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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers [Duronio Lab] have determined whether a specific chemical modification of a protein that packages the genome called a histone affects gene activity and cell proliferation according to the paper, “Drosophila melanogaster Set8 and L(3)mbt function in gene expression independently of histone H4 lysine 20 methylation,” published in Genes & Development.

In their research, the group found that removing the enzymes responsible for adding a specific histone chemical modification or a protein that binds it disrupts gene activity and cell proliferation. However, the disruptions are not directly due to the chemical modification itself which is the opposite of current models in the field.

“Our study led to a better understanding of genetic regulation mechanisms,” said Bob Duronio, co-author and biology professor. “Such understanding provides foundational information that can help when developing new treatments for diseases like cancer that result from defects in the regulation of gene activity and cell proliferation by targeting the pathways and mechanisms of Set8 that are independent of the histone modification.” READ MORE

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