From “How Major Signaling Pathways Are Wired to Our Genome Gives New Insight Into Disease Processes” (ScienceDaily, Oct. 27, 2011), we learn:
Although researchers have long understood the importance of these signaling pathways, the mechanism through which they actually affect gene expression had been unclear. In research published this week in the journal Cell, scientists in the lab of Whitehead Institute Member Richard Young describe how a protein acts as a courier, carrying a message from a receptor on the cell’s surface to a master transcription factor on the cell’s DNA. The courier then tailors expression of genes bound by master transcription factors.
The discovery sheds new light on the relationship between signaling pathways, gene expression, cell function, and disease — at the same time revealing potential targets for therapeutic intervention and novel approaches for reprogramming neurons or insulin-producing beta cells to treat nerve damage or diabetes.
“This is a broad, simplifying concept that is key to understanding how the whole human system works and how the genome responds to the world around it — that each signaling pathway has its own signaling molecule that finds its way to that cell’s type-specific master transcription factor,” says Young, who is also a professor of biology at MIT. “This idea allows us to think clearly about what is going awry in disease and how we potentially can treat people by modifying these signaling pathways.”
Incidentally, From Cell Signaling:
We are witnessing an explosion of knowledge about signal transduction pathways, impacting virtually all areas of biology and medicine. In order to be useful to the research community, this information must be synthesized and integrated into understandable paradigms of cellular communication. The following revised and updated diagrams have been assembled by Cell Signaling Technology (CST) scientists and outside experts to provide succinct and current overviews of selected signaling pathways.
Select a pathway from the menu below. Our pathways are downloadable in PDF format.