All the cells in our bodies carry the same information, in the same genes, yet they fulfil a wide range of roles, requiring very different features and behaviours. Such differentiation is achieved by gene regulation, allowing only subsets of genes to be expressed in each cell type, at the appropriate time during development, and according to environmental conditions. One way in which whole sets of genes are silenced is by tethering sections of DNA to the nuclear lamina, a protein mesh lining the inner membrane of cell nuclei. Pictured is a segment of DNA, tagged in green, and bound to the lamina in red. Recent research has begun to uncover how genes are targeted for silencing at the lamina, and which proteins are used to anchor them there, thus shedding some light on what’s likely to be a key regulatory process, especially during development.
Written by Emmanuelle Briolat
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