Navigation Links
Massive microRNA scan uncovers leads to treating muscle degeneration

Researchers have discovered the first microRNAs tiny bits of code that regulate gene activity linked to each of 10 major degenerative muscular disorders, opening doors to new treatments and a better biological understanding of these debilitating, poorly understood, often untreatable diseases. The study, to be published online this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was led by Iris Eisenberg, PhD, of the Program in Genomics at Childrens Hospital Boston. Louis Kunkel, PhD, director of the Program in Genomics and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, was senior investigator.

The disorders include the muscular dystrophies (Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Becker muscular dystrophy, limb girdle muscular dystrophies, Miyoshi myopathy, and fascioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy); the congenital myopathies (nemaline myopathy); and the inflammatory myopathies (polymyositis, dermatomyositis, and inclusion body myositis). While past studies have linked them with an increasing number of genes, it's still largely unknown how these genes cause muscle weakness and wasting, and, more importantly, how to translate the discoveries into treatments.

For instance, most muscular dystrophies begin with a known mutation in a master gene, leading to damaged or absent proteins in muscle cells. In Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies, the absent protein is dystrophin, as Kunkel himself discovered in 1987. Its absence causes muscle tissue to weaken and rupture, and the tissue becomes progressively nonfunctional through inflammatory attacks and other damaging events that arent fully understood.

The initial mutations do not explain why patients are losing their muscle so fast, says Eisenberg. There are still many unknown genes involved in these processes, as well as in the inflammatory processes taking place in the damaged muscle tissue.

She and Kunkel believe microRNAs may help provide the missing genetic links. Their team analyzed muscle tissue from patients with each of the ten muscular disorders, discovering that 185 microRNAs are either too abundant or too scarce in wasting muscle, compared with healthy muscle.

Discovered in humans only in the past decade, microRNAs are already known to regulate major processes in the body. Therefore, Eisenberg believes microRNAs may be involved in orchestrating the tissue death, inflammatory response and other major degenerative processes in the affected muscle tissue. The researchers used bioinformatics to uncover a list of genes the microRNAs may act on, and now plan to find which microRNAs and genes actually underlie these processes.

The findings raise the possibility of slowing muscle loss by targeting the microRNAs that control these cascades of damaging events. This approach is more efficient than targeting individual genes.

The team also defined the abnormal microRNA signatures that correspond to each of the ten wasting diseases. They hope these will shed light on the genes and disease mechanisms involved in the most poorly understood and least treatable of the degenerative disorders, such as inclusion body myositis.

At this point, its very theoretical, but its possible, says Eisenberg.


Contact: James Newton
Children's Hospital Boston

Related biology news :

1. New plant DNA libraries provides massive boost to worlds plant researchers
2. Underlying cause of massive pinyon pine die-off revealed
3. Massive duplication of genes may solve Darwins abominable mystery about flowering plants
4. PNAS study reveals why organs fail following massive trauma
5. Massive coral death attributed to earthquake
6. Massive herds of animals found to still exist in Southern Sudan
7. Yale Scientists Find MicroRNA Regulates Ras Cancer Gene
8. Cooperation is key—a new way of looking at MicroRNA and how it controls gene expression
9. NYU, Rockefeller researchers find complexity of regulation by microRNA genes
10. MicroRNAs play a big part in gene regulation - and evolution
11. Molecular steps involved in the creation of gene-silencing microRNAs identified
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... Oct. 29, 2015  The J. Craig Venter Institute ... "DNA Synthesis and Biosecurity: Lessons Learned and Options for ... Health and Human Services guidance for synthetic biology providers ... --> --> Synthetic ... the potential to pose unique biosecurity threats. It now ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015  Connected health pioneer, ... the explosion of technology-enabled health and wellness, and the ... book, The Internet of Healthy Things ... or smartphones even existed, Dr. Kvedar, vice president, Connected ... health care delivery, moving care from the hospital or ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... -- In the present market scenario, security is one ... verticals such as banking, healthcare, defense, electronic gadgets, and ... secure & simplified access control and growing rate of ... bank accounts, misuse of users, , and so on. ... and smartphones are expected to provide potential opportunities for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... - ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. (TSX: PLI) (OTCQX: PFSCF) ("ProMetic" ... , President and Chief Executive Officer of ProMetic, will be ... th Annual Healthcare Conference to be held at the ... st , at 8.50am (ET) and ProMetic,s management team ... presentation will be available live via a webcast accessible at ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nev. , Nov. 24, 2015  PDL BioPharma, Inc. ... P. McLaughlin , the company,s president and chief executive officer, ... Healthcare Conference next week in New York City ... occur on Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. EST. ... Please connect to the website at least 15 minutes prior ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015 According to two new studies, ... This is something that many doctors, scientists, and public health ... remains: with fewer PSA tests being done, will there be ... Dr. David Samadi, "Despite the efforts made in ... the second leading cancer cause of death in men, killing ...
(Date:11/23/2015)... 2015 China Cord Blood Corporation (NYSE: ... of cord blood collection, laboratory testing, hematopoietic stem cell ... preliminary unaudited financial results for the second quarter and ... 2015. --> --> ... for the second quarter of fiscal 2016 increased by ...
Breaking Biology Technology: