Heating up gene activation

There's a new technique for targeting gene therapy to specific tissues: sound waves that turn on gene expression, according to an article published online in PNAS. The technique could eventually also help orchestrate stem cell differentiation, the authors note. Currently scientists can control the timing of gene activation with techniques like ionizing radiation. They have also used small molecular switches to turn on gene expression. But ionizing radiation increases the risk of cancer, limitin

Tia Ghose
Jan 18, 2009
There's a new technique for targeting gene therapy to specific tissues: sound waves that turn on gene expression, according to an article published online in PNAS. The technique could eventually also help orchestrate stem cell differentiation, the authors note. Currently scientists can control the timing of gene activation with techniques like ionizing radiation. They have also used small molecular switches to turn on gene expression. But ionizing radiation increases the risk of cancer, limiting the potential for repeated treatment, and molecular methods can't precisely control the location of gene expression. Chrit Moonen, a chemical physicist at the Center for National Scientific Research at the University Victor Segalen in Bordeaux, France, and his colleagues turned on gene expression by activating a heat sensitive promoter using high intensity ultrasound. To test the concept, they created transgenic mice that contained a bioluminescent gene controlled by a DNA region called the heat...

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?