New structural ‘map’ solves mysteries of gigantic gene regulator

Structural biology has been used to ‘map’ part of a protein called SMCHD1, explaining how some changes in SMCHD1 cause certain developmental and degenerative conditions. Scientists have now revealed the structure of the portion of the SMCHD1 protein that is crucial to its function in ‘switching off’ genes. Inherited mutations in this part of SMCHD1 have been linked to a developmental disorder and a form of muscular dystrophy.