Protein Complex Links Cellular Metabolism to Gene Expression

Researchers in the Workman Lab have found a new link between a cell's basic life functions and its genetic operations.

The connection involves a protein complex named SESAME, which uses enzymes responsible for glycolysis to activate proteins that regulate genetic material. Glycolysis is the first stage of cellular metabolism, the chain of biochemical reactions by which cells break down food, build proteins and amino acids, and produce energy.

"It has been suggested that chromatin regulation and gene expression might link to cellular metabolism," says Tamaki Suganuma, PhD, a Stowers research scientist who directed the study. "However, SESAME is the first example of a protein complex that directly regulates cellular metabolism and chromatin modification by utilizing its own enzyme subunits."

Although their research involved yeast, the authors say the link may hold true in humans. If a SESAME equivalent in humans is found, it could offer insight to enable novel approaches for cancer risk prediction and treatment.

The study was published in October 2015 in the journal Molecular Cell.