Research : The mechanisms and signals that regulate the expression of genes
There is an estimated twenty-five to thirty thousand genes in the human genome. To understand how the expression of each of these genes is controlled is urgent, as many diseases result, at some level, from aberrant gene expression. Indeed, the spatial and temporal control of gene expression is key to central biological processes such as cell proliferation and differentiation, and cellular responses to external and internal stimuli. A number of groups sudies the regulation of gene expression at the cellular level as well as at the level of the entire organism.
Nouria Hernandez and colleagues study the regulation of transcription as it pertains to the control of cell growth and proliferation. They have recently focused on the role of casein kinaseII in the control of RNA polymerase III transcription.
Winship Herr and colleagues study the regulation of gene expression for the coordination of cell growth and division using human viruses to probe these mechanisms. Their work has led to the discovery of multiple roles for the human herpes simplex virus host cell factor HCF-1 in controlling genome duplication and segregation during the cell cycle.
Christian Fankhauser and his group use molecular genetics to study how light perception by plants, in particular Arabidopsis thaliana modulates growth and development through altered gene expression. Their studies have led to the identification of genes and molecular mechanisms involved in photoreceptor-mediated signaling.