All cells in our bodies contain the same genetic information. Yet, these cells make up very different parts of the body like liver, heart, and eyes. This is achieved by expressing certain genes and inactivating others. The protein MOF is known to play an important role in this process: DNA does not flow freely in the cell nucleus but is packaged by histone proteins. There, MOF facilitates reading the genetic information encoded in the DNA by modifying the histones. Asifa Akhtar describes in this video how the researchers were surprised to find that, in mammals, MOF is not only present in the nucleus but also in the mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell. To understand which role MOF plays in both locations, the team employed confocal microscopy, biochemistry and genetics to study the effect of removing the protein from the cell. Their findings indicate that MOF controls gene expression both in the nucleus and the mitochondria. This implicates a link between gene expression and metabolism control which might provide a new perspective on how changes in the environment that influence the metabolism can impinge on the expression of genes.
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