The team has studied the cultural wear on anterior teeth, specifically the cut marks left on them as a result of their use as a third hand to hold materials while being cut with a lithic tool. These marks have been observed with the application of the scanning electron microscope Regulation of RNA polymerase II activity, which catalyzes the transcription of DNA to generate messenger RNA, is central to cell differentiation and maintenance of cell identity. RPAP1 is a protein associated with this enzyme whose function in mammals was unknown until now. A study led by Manuel Serrano and developed at the National Center for Oncological Research (CNIO) and the Institute for Biomedical Research (IRB) of Barcelona shows its key role in the establishment and conservation of cell identity through the regulation of this polymerase.
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The work is published in the journal Cell Scotland Email List Reports. RNA polymerase II is involved in the transition of cells from undifferentiated stages to specialized cells . For example, from a cardiac stem cell to a cardiomyocyte. This enzyme is also essential in the preservation of cell identity, the loss of which causes serious diseases such as cancer. Among the factors involved in the regulation of this enzyme is RPAP1. It is a protein that has been conserved throughout evolution, from metazoans to plants and mammals. However, their role in the latter had not yet been described. RNA polymerase II activity is known to be regulated by remotely acting gene elements. A complex of 30 proteins known as a Mediator that interacts with RNA polymerase II is assembled in these gene elements, but the details of this process were unknown.
The new CNIO work identifies the RPAP1 protein as the key element that acts as a “bridge” between Mediator and RNA polymerase II. “We have described the function of RPAP1 in mammals and have observed relevant parallels with its counterpart in plants,” the authors write in the journal. Based on them, “we propose that it is an ancestral mechanism to trigger the transition from the pluripotent state to cell differentiation . ” The Genomic Instability Group and the Bioinformatics and Transgenics units of the CNIO have also participated in this work, as well as scientists from the National Center for Biotechnology (CNB-CSIC), the University of Lisbon and the University of Luxembourg. The research has been funded by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, the European Regional Development Fund, the European Research Council