Tag: Young Lab

schematic depicting super-enhancers controlling cell identity genes in embryonic stem cells

Super-enhancers seen as ‘Rosetta Stone’ for dialog between genes and disease

October 10, 2013

Having recently discovered a set of powerful gene regulators that control cell identity in a few mouse and human cell types, Whitehead Institute scientists are now showing that these regulators—which they named “super-enhancers”—act across a vast array of human cell types and are enriched in mutated regions of the genome that are closely associated with a broad spectrum of diseases.

Diagram of the mechanism cancer cells use to convert into cancer stem cells

Scientists identify gene that controls aggressiveness in breast cancer cells

July 3, 2013

Whitehead Institute researchers have determined that in basal breast cancer cells a transcription factor known as ZEB1 is held in a poised state, ready to increase the cells’ aggressiveness and enable them to transform into cancer stem cells capable of seeding new tumors throughout the body. Intriguingly, luminal breast cancer cells, which are associated with a much better clinical prognosis, carry this gene in a state in which it seems to be permanently shut down.

Diagram comparing enhancers and super-enhancers of two cell types

Genetic master controls expose cancers’ Achilles’ heel

April 11, 2013

In a surprising finding that helps explain fundamental behaviors of normal and diseased cells, Whitehead Institute scientists have discovered a set of powerful gene regulators dubbed “super-enhancers” that control cell state and identity.

Diagrm of transcription of mRNA and lncRNA that start at the same location

Paired genes in stem cells shed new light on gene organization and regulation

February 4, 2013

Research from Whitehead Institute shows that transcription at the active promoters of protein-coding genes commonly runs in opposite directions. This leads to coordinate production of both protein-coding messenger RNAs (mRNAs) and long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs).

Charts of global genetic analyses

Whitehead scientists identify major flaw in standard approach to global gene expression analysis

October 25, 2012

Whitehead Institute researchers report that common assumptions employed in the generation and interpretation of data from global gene expression analyses can lead to seriously flawed conclusions about gene activity and cell behavior in a wide range of current biological research.

Image: Proposed Skolkovo Institute buildings

Whitehead Members to help establish international stem cell research center

October 1, 2012

Three Members of the Whitehead Institute faculty are poised to play significant roles in the establishment of a new stem cell research center based at Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skolkovo Tech) in suburban Moscow.

Aggressive cancer exploits MYC oncogene to amplify global gene activity

September 27, 2012

Whitehead Institute researchers have determined the mechanism used by c-Myc to increase the expression of all active genes in cancer cells. Elevated levels of c-Myc are linked to increased rates of metastasis, disease recurrence, and mortality in cancer patients. Guided by this new model, researchers hope to find ways to restrict c-Myc's activity to eradicate cancer cells that become dependent on c-Myc for their survival.

Whitehead Member Richard Young elected to National Academy of Sciences

May 1, 2012

The National Academy of Sciences announced today that Whitehead Institute’s Richard Young is among 84 new Academy members elected in recognition of distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Images of cells with LSD1 activity on and off

Chaos in the cell's command center

February 1, 2012

Whitehead Institute researchers have determined the critical role one enzyme, lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1), plays as mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) differentiate.

How major signaling pathways are wired to our genome gives new insight into disease processes

October 27, 2011

Whitehead Institute scientists have determined that master transcription factors determine the genes regulated by key signaling pathways. In this way, signaling pathways are targeted to genes that are most relevant to each cell type and tailor gene expression to control cell state, growth, differentiation, and death.

Graphic of gene expression machinery and the protein complexes Mediator and Cohesin forming a DNA loop

Surprise in genome structure linked to developmental diseases

August 18, 2010

The genes that are responsible for maintaining each cell type form DNA loops that link control elements for these genes. This surprising genome structure is generated and reinforced by two essential protein complexes that bridge the loops and contribute to proper gene regulation.

Human embryonic stem cells and reprogrammed cells virtually identical

August 5, 2010

Human embryonic stem (ES) cells and adult cells reprogrammed to an embryonic stem cell-like state—so-called induced pluripotent stem or iPS cells—exhibit very few differences in their gene expression signatures and are nearly indistinguishable in their chromatin state, according to Whitehead Institute researchers.

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