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Thread: What Makes a Change in Gene Expression Permanent?

  1. #1 What Makes a Change in Gene Expression Permanent? 
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    Would anyone know what one of these makes a permanent change, e.g. to the rate of collagen production... mrna, transcription, protein, or translation?


    Chester
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chester View Post
    Would anyone know what one of these makes a permanent change, e.g. to the rate of collagen production... mrna, transcription, protein, or translation?
    Nothing, so far as I'm aware. Expression patterns can always be altered, if circumstances allow.


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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chester View Post
    Would anyone know what one of these makes a permanent change, e.g. to the rate of collagen production... mrna, transcription, protein, or translation?
    Nothing, so far as I'm aware. Expression patterns can always be altered, if circumstances allow.
    Is it relatively permanent, as in, after a course of medicine has finished, and lifestyle factors have changed from bad before treatment to good after treatment, then gene expression will remain altered?
    Chester
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    Hey Chester,

    Gene expression is, in general, dynamic.

    The central dogma of molecular biology is DNA > RNA > protein i.e. DNA is transcribed into mRNA (and/or various short, regulatory RNAs); mRNA is translated into protein.

    There are a few different interpretations of the term 'gene expression'. In some contexts, 'gene expression' can be used to refer specifically to the production of proteins via the process of translation. Probably the reason for this is that proteins are essentially the 'workhorses' of the cell, that carry out important roles in the cell, including signalling, structural roles, catalysis and gene-regulatory functions. However, certainly in the last decade or so, it has become apparent that the importance of short RNAs in regulating gene expression has previously been underestimated. The term should therefore really encompass the production of any RNA and/or protein within the cell.

    To answer your question - gene expression can be altered at the level of RNA production (transcription) and/or protein production (translation). It is more difficult to specify whether a change in gene expression will be 'permanent' - rarely, if ever, do the expression levels of a gene change in such a way that the change is static throughout the lifetime of the organism. The expression levels of any given gene are normally determined by multiple factors. Moreover, the signalling networks controlling gene expression are multifactorial and interlinked, with added layers of complexity in the form of positive and negative feedback loops.

    Check out Lewin B. 'Genes' for a comprehensive overview.

    BW,

    Tridimity

    P.S. Sorry if this post is a bit incoherent - it's 12:15 am here and I'm very tired.
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  6. #5  
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    Thanks very much Tridimity
    Chester
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