Growth Hormone Project
The growth hormone group is investigating the developmental control and tissue specificity of the human Growth Hormone (hGH) gene cluster. The five genes in this cluster are expressed in a mutually exclusive pattern in the pituitary somatotropes and placental syncytiotrophoblasts. The primary focus of study is the early chromatin activation of the cluster by the 5'-distal locus control region (LCR) and the role of epigenetic mechanisms in this pathway .
mRNA Stability Project The mRNA stability
group is involved in working out the determinants of eucaryotic mRNA function. The specific model
being studied is the long-lived a-globin mRNA . There is now much
evidence that the stability is mediated by the formation of an RNP complex between the 3' UTR of the
α-globin mRNA and an RNA-binding protein in the KH domain class: aCP. This mRNP determinant appears to be involved in a wide array of stabilization and translational control mechanisms. We are now involved in establishing the full spectrum of aCP target mRNAs, the roles of the corresponding interactions in mRNA processing and expression, and the mechanisms that underly these processes.
The DBP group studies Vitamin D-binding protein (DBP, also known as the group-specific component of serum: GC-globulin). This is a highly expressed serum protein that is a member of the albumin (ALB), a-fetoprotein (AFP), and afamin or a-albumin (AFM) gene family. These four genes are linked on human chromosome 4. DBP is a highly polymorphic serum protein predominantly synthesized in liver as a single-chain glycoprotein of approximately 58 kDa. Studies include: the function of DBP via a gene knock-out approach in mice, and its transcriptional control via LCR elements and promoter determinants.