Molecular Biology

Molecular Genetics


Silencers are control sections of DNA that, like enhancers, may be located thousands of base pairs away from the gene they regulate. However, when transcription factors bind to them, expression of the gene they regulate is repressed. This is the opposite effect to that of enhancers, which increase rate of transcription.

MOLECULAR BIOLOGY: CHROMATIN DNA PACKAGING AND GENE SILENCING:"One basic premise of chromatin regulation is that genes are silenced through compaction of chromatin, which reduces the accessibility of DNA. In contrast, gene expression may require the "opening up" of chromatin. The Polycomb group (PcG) of gene repressors and the trithorax group (trxG) of gene activators are two antagonistic classes of proteins that may act through modulation of chromatin structure. Together, these factors maintain the gene expression patterns of key developmental regulators and hence are crucial players in cellular differentiation, stem cell renewal, and cancer."

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