I. Gene Regulation: An Introduction
II. Gene Regulation: Why So Complex?
Part I: Gene Regulation: An Introduction
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Transcription, the conversion of DNA to RNA, is one of the most fundamental processes in cell biology. However, only about 3% of our total DNA encodes genes to be transcribed. RNA polymerase II, the enzyme that transcribes DNA to RNA, relies on a large set of proteins known as transcription factors to recognize the coding sequences and to transcribe the correct genes, in the correct cell type, at the correct time.
In Part 1 of his lecture, Tjian gives an overview of the complex and critical role that transcription factors play in regulating gene expression. How do different cells from the same organism, such as muscle cells, neurons and red blood cells, all of which have identical DNA, have such different phenotypes? Tjian addresses this question in his second lecture, where he expands on the mechanisms of gene regulation.
Robert Tjian has been President of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 2009. He is also a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of California, Berkeley where he maintains a research lab focused on understanding the regulation of gene expression.
Tjian received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from UC Berkeley and his Ph.D. from Harvard University. He joined the faculty at Berkeley in 1979 after completing a post-doc at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory with James Watson. Tjian has received numerous a
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Tjian, Robert. (1995) Molecular Machines that Control Genes. Scientific American 272, 38-46.
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James A. Goodrich and Robert Tjian (2010), “Unexpected roles for core promoter recognition factors in cell-type-specific transcription and gene regulation” Nat. Rev. Gen. 11:549-558.