Through a cell biology lens, the study of gene expression is tightly linked to our understanding of proteins. The shape and structure of proteins is a crucial aspect of gene expression biology and links our understanding of gene expression to the biology of the cell.
While these are primarily protein molecules acting on DNA and RNA sequences such as transcription factors and histones, studies of gene expression also focus on where cell expression is modulated. You can also check out the Boster Bio featured products to know more about proteins and gene expression.
Indeed, modulation of gene expression in the nucleus, cytoplasm, or even the cell membrane may occur due to the action of proteins on RNA in these cellular subregions. How do scientists study protein form and function?
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A technique called mass spectrometry allows scientists to sequence amino acids into proteins. Once the sequence is known, scientists can compare the amino acid sequence against a database to see if there are any related proteins whose functions are known.
Such amino acid sequences often have a similar function within the cell. Amino acid sequencing also allows scientists to predict the charge on a molecule, its size, and its possible three-dimensional structure. The payload and size can later be confirmed experimentally (with SDS-PAGE and two-dimensional gel).
A good way to test protein function is to look at what happens in cells when protein is not present. For this purpose, scientists use model systems such as cell or whole-organism cultures in which they can test the function of a particular protein or gene by modifying or mutating it.