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June 10, 1994 - Image 47

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-06-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Hamilton House

Gene Expression
Symposium

Genes that can spur or suppress
the development of cancer was
among the topics discussed at
an international meeting held at
the Weizmann Institute last win-
ter. The gathering commemo-
rated the late institute Professor
Yossi Aloni, who was one of the
world's foremost experts in mol-
ecular aspects of gene expression
— a complex, highly regulated
process enabling cells to manu-
facture vital proteins.
The three-day gathering, ti-
tled Transcription Regulation of
Viral and Cellular Genes,
brought together scientists from
the United States, Israel, France
and Germany. Participants in-
cluded numerous former col-
leagues, students and friends of
Professor Aloni, who, at the time
of his death last year, was head
of the Institute's Department of
Molecular Genetics and Virolo-

The transcription of genes, the
major focus of the meeting, is the
process in which information en-
coded in genetic material is
translated into messages that
are released into cells, providing
instructions for the production
of proteins. Unraveling the
mechanisms regulating this
process is essential for under-
standing the development of or-
ganisms and gaining insights
into various diseases.
One of the meeting's sessions
was dedicated to the genetics of
cancer, a disorder in which the
tight control of genes responsi-
ble for cell proliferation is dis-
rupted. Several talks focused on
recent findings related to onco-
genes, which induce cancer, and
tumor suppressor genes, which
block its development. These
finding show that both classes of
genes are involved in pro-
grammed cell death, a property
that is displayed by normal cells
but appears to be absent from
cancer cells, which keep on liv-
ing and proliferating.
Other topics discussed at the
meeting included the genetic as-
pects of viral infection. Speakers
focused on the ways viruses har-
ness the transcription machin-
ery of cells, as well as how their
own transcription is controlled.
Fundamental aspects of gene
transcription and expression also
were discussed.
Elucidating the mechanisms
governing gene expression was
the main scientific interest of the
late Professor Aloni. One of his
major contributions to the field
was the identification of the
mechanism responsible for
stalling transcription, a crucial
element in the regulation of this
process. ❑

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