Navigation Links
Doubling the information from the double helix
Date:4/27/2012

Our genes control many aspects of who we are from the colour of our hair to our vulnerability to certain diseases but how are the genes, and consequently the proteins they make themselves controlled?

Researchers have discovered a new group of molecules which control some of the fundamental processes behind memory function and may hold the key to developing new therapies for treating neurodegenerative diseases.

The research, led by academics from the University of Bristol's Schools of Clinical Sciences, Biochemistry and Physiology and Pharmacology and published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, has revealed a new group of molecules, called mirror-microRNAs.

MicroRNAs are non-coding genes that often reside within 'junk DNA' and regulate the levels and functions of multiple target proteins responsible for controlling cellular processes in the brain. The study's findings have shown that two microRNA genes with different functions can be produced from the same piece (sequence) of DNA one is produced from the top strand and another from the bottom complementary 'mirror' strand.

Specifically, the research has shown that a single piece of human DNA gives rise to two fully processed microRNA genes that are expressed in the brain and have different and previously unknown functions. One microRNA is expressed in the parts of nerve cells that are known to control memory function and the other microRNA controls the processes that move protein cargos around nerve cells.

James Uney, Professor of Molecular Neuroscience in the University's School of Clinical Sciences, said: "These findings are important as they show that very small changes in miRNA genes will have a dramatic effect on brain function and may influence our memory function or likelihood of developing neurodegenerative diseases. These findings also suggest that many more human mirror microRNAs will be found and that they could ultimately be used as treatments for human neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia."

MicroRNAs can be seen as a novel regulatory layer within the genome, relying on the interaction between different RNA molecules. Through binding to messenger RNA (mRNA), they adjust the levels of proteins. Due to their small size, they are able to regulate many different RNAs. MicroRNAs have already been found throughout the double helix, lying in between genes or in areas of the code for a single gene that would normally be discarded. Such areas that were once considered "junk DNA" are now revealing a more complex and important role. In addition microRNAs can be produced in conjunction with their genes, within which they lie, or be controlled and produced entirely independently.

Helen Scott and Joanna Howarth, the lead authors on the study, added: "We have now found that both sides of the double helix can each produce a microRNA. These two microRNAs are almost a perfect mirror of each other, but due to slight differences in their sequence, they regulate different sets of protein producing RNAs, which will in turn affect different biological functions. Such mirror-microRNAs are likely to represent a new group of microRNAs with complex roles in coordinating gene expression, doubling the capacity of regulation."


'/>"/>
Contact: Caroline Clancy
caroline.clancy@bristol.ac.uk
44-011-792-88086
University of Bristol
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Doubling a gene in corn results in giant biomass
2. Doubling a gene in corn results in giant biomass
3. Apes shed pounds while doubling calories, CWRU researcher finds
4. New projection shows global food demand doubling by 2050
5. Can genetic information be controlled by light?
6. TGen spin-off MedTrust Online enables cancer doctors to quickly obtain best-available information
7. SAIC Awarded $37 Million Contract to Support U.S. Army Program Executive Office - Enterprise Information Systems
8. Loggerhead release to provide vital information to scientific community
9. Neuroinformatics special issue spotlights the Neuroscience Information Framework
10. CSHL scientists discover a new way in which epigenetic information is inherited
11. Stevens receives $25,000 grant from the Engineering Information Foundation
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/21/2016)... , Nov. 21, 2016   Neurotechnology ... object recognition technologies, today announced that the MegaMatcher ... cards was submitted for the NIST Minutiae ... passed all the mandatory steps of the evaluation ... is a continuing test of fingerprint templates used ...
(Date:11/17/2016)... Nov. 17, 2016 Global Market Watch: ... (Disease-Based Banks, Population-Based Banks and Academics) market is to witness ... Private Biobanks shows the highest Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) ... region during the analysis period 2014-2020. North America ... 9.95% followed by Europe at 9.56% ...
(Date:11/16/2016)... Calif. , Nov. 16, 2016 ... user experience and security for consumer electronics, and ... the financial and retail industry, today announced a ... and convenient way to authenticate users of mobile ... Sensory,s TrulySecure™ software which requires no ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/5/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the ... and Companies" to their offering. ... , , This ... -omics technologies such as proteomics and metabolomics. Molecular diagnostics technologies are ... based on biomarker. Currently the most important applications of ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... Dec. 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - Resverlogix Corp. ("Resverlogix" ... independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) for ... cardiovascular disease (CVD) patients has completed a second ... should continue as planned without any modifications. The ... no safety or efficacy concerns were identified. The ...
(Date:12/4/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... ... -operated small businesses in federally funded research and development is welcome news for ... optics and photonics . , As part of the National Defense Authorization Act ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... HARBOR, N.Y. , Dec. 2, 2016 More ... Laboratory,s (CSHL) 11th Double Helix Medals dinner ( DHMD ). The gala ... in New York City and honored ... for their contributions, respectively, to health and medicine and the ... Muhammad Ali in 2006, the event has raised $40 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: