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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Transcription enhancer factor-1 (TEF-1) DNA binding sites can specifically enhance gene expression at the beginning of mouse development.

In an effort to identify transcriptional elements that are recognized at different stages of early mouse development, polyomavirus (PyV) enhancer mutations were selected for their ability to support PyV transcription and replication in various mouse undifferentiated embryonal carcinoma (EC) and embryonic stem (ES) cell lines. Several of these enhancer mutations were then isolated, sequenced and tested for their ability to stimulate the PyV early gene promoter in plasmid DNA that was either transfected into EC, ES and fibroblast cell lines, or injected into the nuclei of mouse 1-cell and 2-cell embryos. EC, ES and fibroblast cell lines showed clear preferences for different enhancer configurations, and cleavage-stage embryos (2- to 8-cell stage) strongly preferred the same enhancer configuration favored by ES cells. This 'embryo responsive' (ER) enhancer configuration was characterized by a tandem duplication of the region containing a single point mutation that created a DNA binding site for Transcription Enhancer Factor-1 (TEF-1). ER enhancers stimulated the PyV promoter up to 350-fold in embryos, and were up to 74-fold more active than the wild-type PyV enhancer. Most of the activity from PyER enhancers could be duplicated in 2-cell embryos by synthesizing only the tandemly repeated sequence. Comparison of these synthetic enhancers with ER enhancers confirmed that TEF-1 DNA binding sites were highly preferred in ES cells and cleavage-stage embryos, and suggested that ER enhancer activity resulted primarily from cooperative interaction between either two closely spaced TEF-1 DNA binding sites or two TEF-1 DNA binding sites separated by a third, as yet unidentified, transcription factor binding site. These results provide a prototype of a mammalian embryo responsive enhancer, and suggest that TEF-1 plays an important role in activation of gene expression at the beginning of mammalian development.[1]


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