Dissecting cis versus trans regulation of gene expression using in vitro transcription

Type of Award: Catalyst
Date Awarded: February 2013
Award End Date: January 2015
Amount Awarded: $ 200,000.00
PI(s): Bruce Lahn, PhD, UChicago; John Crispino, PhD, NU;

Abstract: A central focus of biology is how different cell types within a multicellular organism acquire their distinct gene expression patterns. Despite intense research, this important question remains poorly understood, owing chiefly to the complexity of regulatory mechanisms controlling transcription. The current proposal is aimed at bringing one important level of clarity to that complexity, namely, to develop an experimental system capable of dissecting cis versus trans regulation of gene expression. Specifically, we propose to develop a method capable of distinguishing whether the silent state of a gene is caused by diffusible factors acting in trans of the gene or chromatin modifications acting in cis of the gene. As a proof of concept, we will apply this method to the study of gene regulation in blood development. By bringing greater insight into the understanding of cell-type-specific gene regulation, this proposal has the potential to make a significant impact on many areas of biomedicine.