Public Release: 

Mount Sinai researchers discover technology that silences genes

Suppressing disease-causing genes is now within reach

The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Mount Sinai researchers have developed a new gene silencing technology that could be used to target genes that can lead to the development of certain diseases. This technology could pave the way for preventing diseases where gene dysfunction plays a role. The groundbreaking research was led by Ming-Ming Zhou, Ph.D., Professor and Chairman of the Department of Structural and Chemical Biology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The findings, which will be published in the September issue of Nature Cell Biology, are available on the magazine's web site as of today.

"By being able to silence certain genes, we may be able to suppress genes that can cause diseases such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, inflammation and diseases of the central and peripheral nervous systems. We now know we can focus on these genes and potentially change the ultimate course of many diseases that have a major impact on people's lives," says Dr. Zhou.

In the study, Dr. Zhou, Shiraz Mujtaba, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Structural and Chemical Biology at Mount Sinai and their colleagues discovered that Paramecium bursaria chlorella virus uses a viral protein to modify host DNA packing chromatin and switch host transcription machinery for viral replication. Based on this finding, researchers were able to develop a new gene targeting technology that effectively suppresses transcriptional expression of targeted genes in human cells, including genes that are linked to the onset of a number of diseases.

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About The Mount Sinai Medical Center

The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The Mount Sinai Hospital is one of the nation's oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. Founded in 1852, Mount Sinai today is a 1,171-bed tertiary-care teaching facility that is internationally acclaimed for excellence in clinical care. Last year, nearly 50,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients, and there were nearly 450,000 outpatient visits to the Medical Center. Mount Sinai School of Medicine is internationally recognized as a leader in groundbreaking clinical and basic-science research, as well as having an innovative approach to medical education. With a faculty of more than 3,400 in 38 clinical and basic science departments and centers, Mount Sinai ranks among the top 20 medical schools in receipt of National Institute of Health (NIH) grants.

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