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

atments 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."


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

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