Alyssa Ward, a graduate student in Desiderio’s laboratory, says that the system works like the bolt on a door. The PHD piece is the lock, H3K4me3 is the key and the deleted piece is the actual bolt. When all of the pieces are normal, H3K4me3 unlocks the PHD segment, which moves the bolt so that the door can open— i.e., so that RAG can cut. If there is a mutation in the PHD, the key won’t fit the lock, so the door remains bolted. But, if the lock or bolt is removed entirely, the door can open and close freely.
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Hat tip: Timothy Kershner