Messages from intergenic space

A non-protein-coding RNA regulates a neighboring gene by simply being turned on

David Secko(dmsecko@interchange.ubc.ca)
Jun 2, 2004

Although it's becoming more apparent that the intergenic space between protein-coding genes—often referred to as "junk"—is actively transcribed and often produces non–protein-coding RNAs, the role of these RNAs and their transcription is largely unknown. In the June 3 Nature, Joseph Martens, Lisa Laprade, and Fred Winston report a previously unknown form of gene regulation involving a non–protein-coding RNA, SRG1, which can regulate a neighboring gene by simply being transcribed.

"I was very pleased to see another role for intergenic transcription which primarily implicates the process of transcription itself rather than the non-coding RNA, which in this case, may be just a by-product," said Peter Fraser, from the Babraham Institute, Cambridge, UK, who was not involved in the study.

The work began with a Saccharomyces cerevisiae gene called SER3, which catalyzes a step in serine biosynthesis and was previously found to be tightly repressed by the yeast switch–sniff...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?