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Genetic regulation by cell growth factors

Our studies focus on the control of gene transcription by a family of human nuclear proteins called CTF/NF-I and on the elucidation of their roles in cell signaling. We aim at determining the molecular mechanisms by which these proteins regulate gene expression and how their activities are controlled by signaling pathways that regulate cell growth and division.

Genome-wide studies have shown that CTF/NF-I proteins bind thousands of specific sequences over the murine genome, and that they regulate the expression of hundreds of genes in response to growth factors. Our studies have also shown that these proteins may act as genetic insulators that inhibiting the spread of repressive chromatin structures.

The study of knock out mice, in which the gene coding for a CTF/NF-I species was inactivated showed that these proteins contribute to the healing of the skin, presumably by acting as an connection point of the signaling pathways activated by TGF-β and PDGF. Other studies have indicated that these proteins also may also control the regeneration of hair follicle by acting on the mobilization of stem cells. These studies suggested a roile for these proteins in the control of tissue growth and regeneration in mammals.
 

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Fluorescent co-immunostaining of two types of actin (red and green) on a culture of mouse embryonic fibroblasts. Counterstaining of nuclei with DAPI (blue).
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