Gene Regulation

Vocabulary

cell differentiation

process by which a cell becomes specialized to perform a certain function

cell memory

pattern of gene expression in daughter cells that gives them the same differentiation as the parent cell

combinatorial control

process by which eukaryotic cells regulate gene expression by organizing groups of transcription regulators to control expression of a single gene

DNA methylation

addition of methyl groups to cytosine nucleotides in the DNA strand

epigenetic inheritance

transmission of information from parent cell to daughter cell without mutations in the genome

functional RNA

noncoding RNA (ncRNA) that serves to regulate gene expression

microRNA (miRNA)

short ncRNA of about 17–25 nucleotides that binds to a specific mRNA and causes degradation or blocks translation of the mRNA

polyadenylation

addition of a chain of adenine (A) nucleotides to the 3′ end of the mRNA transcript

positive feedback loop

process in which the transcription factors required to activate transcription of the proteins the cell must produce are transcribed on the gene they activate

posttranscriptional control

modification to the mRNA applied after transcription

RNA interference (RNAi)

process of silencing RNA via the binding of complementary RNA

RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC)

complex of proteins that cleaves RNA

short interfering RNA (siRNA)

double-stranded RNA of about 20–25 nucleotides that protects the cell from infection

transcription

formation of RNA from the template DNA strand to be used to build proteins

translation

assembly of amino acids into proteins in the ribosomes through the reading of mRNA by tRNA and the ribosome