Protein's Role in Human Cells Discovered

CHAMPAIGN, Ill., July 2 (UPI) — A protein that puts vast amounts of DNA into human cell nuclei plays a key role in regulating all gene activity, including protein production, researchers say.

Most studies of the protein, histone H1, have centered on its role in cell division, but it has found to be vital in many cellular processes, a study published in The Journal of Cell Biology says.

The study found that when H1 histones are modified by the addition of a phosphate group, a process called phosphorylation, that modification is associated with changes in gene activity.

Suspecting that H1 phosphorylation was important for processes besides cell division, researchers identified the exact sites in H1 that are phosphorylated during various portions of the cell cycle, said Craig Mizzen, a professor of cell and developmental biology at the University of Illinois.

The research could lead to a fuller understanding of alterations to the cell cycle associated with cancer and other diseases, the study said.

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