Silencer (DNA)

Silencer (DNA)

In genetics, a silencer is a DNA sequence capable of binding transcription regulation factors, called repressors. DNA contains genes and provides the template to produce messenger RNA (mRNA). That mRNA is then translated into proteins that activate or inactivate gene expression in cells. When a repressor protein binds to the silencer region of DNA, RNA polymerase—the enzyme that transcribes DNA into RNA—is prevented from binding to the promoter region. With the transcription of DNA into RNA blocked, the translation of RNA into proteins is impossible. Thus, silencers prevent genes from being expressed as proteins.

RNA polymerase, a DNA-dependent enzyme, transcribes the DNA sequences, called nucleotides, in the 3' to 5' direction while the complementary RNA is synthesized in the 5' to 3' direction. RNA is similar to DNA, except that RNA contains uracil, instead of thymine, which forms a base pair with adenine. An important region for the activity of gene repression and expression found in RNA is the 3' untranslated region. This is a region on the 3' terminus of RNA that will not be translated to protein but includes many regulatory regions.

Not much is yet known about silencers but scientists continue to study in hopes to classify more types, locations in the genome, and diseases associated with silencers.

See also: Molecular Biology

Read more about Silencer (DNA):  Mutated Silencers, Hereditary Diseases, and Their Effects