UAMS breaking 'protein code' 

Press Release

UAMS Medical Center

UAMS Researchers Helping to Unlock a Protein Code

With Potential for Treating Disease

LITTLE ROCK – Molecular biologists at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) recently uncovered some of the first evidence for proteins that can read and write a “protein code,” providing a possible pathway to new treatments for diseases such as cancer at the genetic level.

Working with colleagues at The Rockefeller University in New York, UAMS researchers led by Alan Tackett, Ph.D., identified a member of a protein complex that appeared to “read” how other proteins are modified and react based on those modifications to “write” a subsequent modification – new genetic information.

The modified proteins – histones – are the “spools” around which is wrapped DNA – the chemical that carries the genetic information for all living organisms. The discovery of these protein interactions is believed to be key evidence in support of the “histone code hypothesis” maintaining that the histones provide additional genetic information when modified during diseases and other conditions. Tackett said the histone code helps explain how certain genes are turned on and off in a programmed manner through interactions between different types of proteins.

“If we can understand the histone code, we may be able to develop methods to regulate the protein modifications, with a long term goal of developing treatments for many diseases,” said Tackett, an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the UAMS College of Medicine and UAMS Graduate School.

The research is detailed in the article, “Yng1 PHD Finger Binding to Histone H3 Trimethylated at Lysine 4 Promotes NuA3 HAT Activity at Lysine 14 of H3 and Transcription at a Subset of Targeted ORFs,” that is published in the Dec. 8 issue of the journal Molecular Cell, a leading journal in the biological sciences.

Tackett corresponded on the article with David Allis, Ph.D., head of the Laboratory of Chromatin Biology at The Rockefeller University who is a pioneer in studying the histone code. The lead author of the article was Sean Taverna, Ph.D., of The Rockefeller University. Other UAMS researchers in the project included Heather Lavender, a research assistant in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Lauren Blair, a graduate student in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

In the research, one part of a multi-protein complex,Yng1, was shown to interact with a modified histone called H3. Yng1 was found to be an “effector” protein since it recognized how H3 was modified and responded in a way that activated gene expression – writing additional histone code.

The researchers used a technique developed in part by Tackett called I-DIRT to uncover the cellular protein interactions with Yng1. The I-DIRT technology identifies the nature of protein interactions at the cellular level, Tackett said.

Key to the work performed by Tackett’s group was the analysis equipment in the UAMS Proteomics Facility. The facility is home to three mass spectrometers and robotic sampling equipment for analysis of proteins. The equipment allows quicker and more efficient protein analysis than was previously available.

The UAMS Proteomics Facility is associated with the Arkansas Cancer Research Center and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the UAMS College of Medicine and Graduate School. Funding for this facility was provided in part by the Arkansas Biosciences Institute through the state’s share of the nationwide tobacco settlement.


Speaking of Medical News


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

More by Crystal Wallis

Most Shared

  • Issue 3: blank check

    Who could object to a constitutional amendment "concerning job creation, job expansion and economic development," which is the condensed title for Issue 3 for Arkansas voters on Nov. 8?
  • Little Rock police kill man downtown

    Little Rock police responding to a disturbance call near Eighth and Sherman Streets about 12:40 a.m. killed a man with a long gun, Police Chief Kenton Buckner said in an early morning meeting with reporters.
  • From the mind of Sol LeWitt: Crystal Bridges 'Loopy Doopy': A correction

    Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is installing Sol Lewitt's 70-foot eye-crosser "Wall Drawing 880: Loopy Doopy," waves of complementary orange and green, on the outside of the Twentieth Century Gallery bridge. You can glimpse painters working on it from Eleven, the museum's restaurant, museum spokeswoman Beth Bobbitt said
  • Ted Suhl loses another bid for new trial; faces stiff sentencing recommendation

    Ted Suhl, the former operator of residential and out-patient mental health services, has lost a second bid to get a new trial on his conviction for paying bribes to influence state Human Services Department policies. Set for sentencing Thursday, Suhl faces a government request for a sentence up to almost 20 years. He argues for no more than 33 months.
  • Football and foster kids

    It took a football stadium to lay bare Republican budget hypocrisy in Arkansas.

Latest in Medical Community

  • UAMS earns 10-year reaccreditation

    The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) recently learned that it has been reaccredited another 10 years by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
    • Oct 16, 2007
  • UAMS performs 7,000th stem-cell transplant

    The internationally known treatment program for multiple myeloma at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) reached another milestone today (Oct. 10) as Jeffrey Zwerin of California received the 7,000th stem-cell transplant procedure perfor
    • Oct 10, 2007
  • Richard Morrison receives endowed chair

    Richard P. Morrison, M.D., today became the inaugural recipient of the Chair in Sciences Basic to Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).
    • Oct 9, 2007
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Jodi Morris's lifelong ties to the National Park Service

Jodi Morris's lifelong ties to the National Park Service

"History is always happening" at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Leslie Rutledge, the absent attorney general

    Arkansas loses out to Trump love, Obama hate.
  • 'Living legend'

    Union Pacific's No. 844 steam locomotive made its way through the North Little Rock train yard on Oct. 24. The 907,980 pound train was the last steam locomotive made for Union Pacific and is amid a 1,200 mile journey that will end in Cheyenne, Wyo. on Oct. 31. This is the first multi-state excursion for the locomotive since completion of a three yearlong restoration.
  • Thanks!

    In less than two weeks, We the People are about to roll the dice and elect our next president. Just enough time left to dash off a few well-deserved thank you notes ... .

Most Recent Comments


© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation