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Gene Regulation Virtual Lab

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Learn about gene expression regulation and its real life application.

About the Gene Regulation Virtual Simulation Lab

The Gene Regulation lab development is based on the Nobel Prize in Physiology 2012 case study. In this lab, you will learn about gene expression regulation and its real life application—for example designing a stem-like cell that is also known as induced Pluripotency Stem (iPS) cells.

Transforming fibroblasts to induced pluripotency stem (iPS) cells

The premise of the lab is to save a blind child by preparing iPS cells that will then be differentiated to retinal-pigmented epithelial cells for transplantation. Your first task is to determine which transcription factors are important in maintaining stem-like features. By analyzing differential gene expression between fibroblasts and stem cells, you will be able to identify the candidate genes. After identifying these genes, you will use a retroviral infection technique to transform mature fibroblasts into iPS cells.

Gene expression analysis

After the transformation, your task will be to confirm that the genes you selected are up-regulated in fibroblasts. You need to check the mRNA transcripts by using RT-PCR and also protein levels using Western blot. The gene expression level can also be regulated by epigenetics, for example promoter methylation. You will investigate the level of methylation using bisulfite sequencing. After completing the Gene Regulation lab, you will have a much better understanding of RT-PCR and Western blot, standard techniques commonly used to analyze gene expression, as well as the epigenetic mechanism of gene regulation.

Will you be able to use your knowledge of iPS cells to help the blind child?

Techniques In Lab

  • Microscopy
  • RT-PCR
  • Western blot

Learning Objectives

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to…

  • Explain how gene expression can be regulated
  • Describe the different levels of gene regulation (mRNA, protein and epigenetics level)
  • Measure mRNA levels (RTPCR), protein expression (Western blot) and methylation levels (DNA sequencing)
  • Describe the concept of stem cells and their potential use

Screenshots of Gene Regulation Virtual Simulation Lab


Dr. Mette Voldby Larsen

Dr. Mette Voldby Larsen

Institute of Systems Biology

Denmark Technical University

Dr. Jose MG Izarzugaza

Dr. Jose MG Izarzugaza

Center for Biological Sequence Analysis

Technical University of Denmark

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