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We still do not understand how all of the factors that regulate gene activation and silencing are coordinated directly at genes. By using tools to probe their dynamics at chromatin in single living cells, we can delineate their functions in a spatio-temporal context and gain new mechanistic insight. To do this, we have developed a method to track a specific region of chromatin in single cells during transcriptional activation. By evaluating the recruitment of regulatory proteins to the site, we can infer their functions. Our approach is unique in that data are derived from individual cells imaged over time, not from cell populations averaged at a limited number of time points. These studies have broad implications for understanding both the developmental potential of the mammalian genome and the mechanistic basis of disease.
The microscope in the image belonged to William E. Horner, M.D., a collaborator with Caspar Wistar, M.D., in the early 1800s.
Dr. Horner, a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, was a pioneer of the use of microscopes in anatomical and medical research. He authored Special Anatomy and Histology, a seminal text on the subject.