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Friday, 29 July, 2011

The dynamic of transcription

New methods allow visualization

NanoPositioningSystem

In every living cell a complex system is continuously translating coded DNA into proteins. The first step in this process is called transcription. For each protein the so-called RNA polymerase produces a second version of the corresponding DNA segment (i.e. the gene): this product is referred to as messenger-RNA (mRNA). It serves as a model with which to build proteins. Recently an international team of scientists was able to visualize the dynamics of this complex transcription process. This was possible by using special fluorescence methods and a so-called nano-positioning-system. Jens Michaelis, a member of NIM, and his team were part of this project. The results are published in the latest issue of the journal Molecular Cell. Michaelis and his colleagues specifically investigated two transcription factors. They detected that these two factors jointly influence both the initiation and maintenance of the transcription process: initially, the first factor (transcription factor E, TFE) binds at the core of transcription, the RNA polymerase. After some time, the second factor (Spt4/5) replaces the first. Only this change effectively initiates the main transcription process. The present work demonstrates for the first time how these two transcription factors are in direct competition with one-another. The results show how each factor influences the transcription of a gene.

Publication:
The Initiation Factor TFE and the Elongation Factor Spt4/5 Compete for the RNAP Clamp during Transcription Initiation and Elongation. Dina Grohmann, Julia Nagy, Anirban Chakraborty, Daniel Klose, Daniel Fielden, Richard H. Ebright, Jens Michaelis and Finn Werner. Molecular Cell 43, 263–274, July 22, 2011

Link to Molecular Cell

Link to Michaelis group (Nanomechanics)

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