Navigation Links
New molecule could save brain cells from neurodegeneration, stroke
Date:1/18/2011

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have discovered a molecule that can make brain cells resistant to programmed cell death or apoptosis.

This molecule, a tiny strand of nucleotides called microRNA-29 or miR-29, has already been shown to be in short supply in certain neurodegenerative illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease and Huntington's disease. Thus, the discovery could herald a new treatment to prompt brain cells to survive in the wake of neurodegeneration or acute injury like stroke.

"There is the real possibility that this molecule could be used to block the cascade of events known as apoptosis that eventually causes brain cells to break down and die," said senior study author Mohanish Deshmukh, PhD, associate professor of cell and developmental biology.

The study, published online Jan. 18, 2011, in the journal Genes & Development, is the first to find a mammalian microRNA capable of stopping neuronal apoptosis.

Remarkably, a large number of the neurons we are born with end up dying during the normal development of our bodies. Our nerve cells must span great distances to ultimately innervate our limbs, muscles and vital organs. Because not all nerve cells manage to reach their target tissues, the body overcompensates by sending out twice as many neurons as required. The first ones to reach their target get the prize, a cocktail of factors needed for them to survive, while the ones left behind die off. Once that brutal developmental phase is over, the remaining neurons become impervious to apoptosis and live long term.

But exactly what happens to suddenly keep these cells from dying has been a mystery. Deshmukh thought the key might lie in microRNAs, tiny but powerful molecules that silence the activity of as many as two-thirds of all human genes. Though microRNAs have been a hotbed of research in recent years, there have been relatively few studies showing that they play a role in apoptosis. So Deshmukh and his colleagues decided to look at all of the known microRNAs and see if there were any differences in young mouse neurons versus mature mouse neurons.

One microRNA jumped out at them, an entity called miR-29, which at that time had never before been implicated in preventing apoptosis. When the researchers injected their new molecule into young neurons, which are able to die if instructed, they found that the cells became resistant to apoptosis, even in the face of multiple death signals.

They then decided to pinpoint where exactly this molecule played a role in the series of biochemical events leading to cell death. The researchers looked at a number of steps in apoptosis and found that miR-29 acts at a key point in the initiation of apoptosis by interacting with a group of genes called the BH3-only family. Interestingly, the microRNA appears to interact with not just one but as many as five members of that family, circumventing a redundancy that existed to allow cell death to continue even if one of them had been blocked.

"People in the field have been perplexed that when they have knocked-out any one of these members it hasn't had a remarkable effect on apoptosis because there are others that can step in and do the job," said Deshmukh. "The fact that this microRNA can target multiple members of this family is very interesting because it shows how a single molecule can basically in one stroke keep apoptosis from happening. Interestingly, it only targets the members that are important for neuronal apoptosis, so it may be a way of specifically preserving cells in the brain without allowing them to grow out of control (and cause cancer) elsewhere in the body."

Deshmukh is currently developing mouse models where miR-29 is either "knocked-out" or overactive and plans to cross them with models of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and ALS to see if it can prevent neurodegeneration. He is also actively screening for small molecule compounds that can elevate this microRNA and promote neuronal survival.


'/>"/>

Contact: Les Lang
llang@med.unc.edu
919-966-9366
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Missing molecules hold promise of therapy for pancreatic cancer
2. Unraveling Alzheimers: Simple small molecules could untangle complex disease
3. Plants remember winter to bloom in spring with help of special molecule
4. Sangart, Inc. Announces Cooperative Research and Development Agreement With the U.S. Navy to Evaluate MP4 Molecule in Traumatic Brain Injury
5. Iowa State, Ames Lab researcher develops new way to study single biological molecules
6. Tiny RNA molecules control labor, may be key to blocking premature birth
7. Tiny molecules protect from the dangers of sex
8. Of 50,000 small molecules tested to fight cancer, 2 show promise
9. Study identifies key molecules in multiple myeloma
10. New class of biomolecules triggered in response to respiratory virus infection
11. Scientists trick bacteria with small molecules
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
New molecule could save brain cells from neurodegeneration, stroke
(Date:5/16/2017)... May 16, 2017  Veratad Technologies, LLC ( www.veratad.com ... age and identity verification solutions, announced today they will ... 2017, May 15 thru May 17, 2017, in ... International Trade Center. Identity impacts the ... in today,s quickly evolving digital world, defining identity is ...
(Date:4/18/2017)... , April 18, 2017  Socionext Inc., a global expert ... a media edge server, the M820, which features the company,s hybrid ... software provided by Tera Probe, Inc., will be showcased during the ... the NAB show at the Las Vegas ... ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... ... grow at a CAGR of 30.37% during the period 2017-2021. ... prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry ... over the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 21, 2017 , ... RMC Pharmaceutical Solutions, Inc. ... Timothy Reinhardt to manage the new site. , Tim has 25 years of ... most recent role as the Director of Manufacturing and Supplier Quality Assessment. ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 22, 2017 , ... ... the allergy specialists DST Diagnostische Systeme & Technologien GmbH, thereby expanding its product ... who suffers from hay fever, urticaria, asthma, atopic eczema or a food allergy. ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... Boston, MA (PRWEB) , ... June 22, 2017 ... ... Kingdom-based social media network RegMedNet has produced a Spotlight ... has featured scholarly reviews and perspectives by leading experts on the unique regulatory ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... June 22, 2017 , ... The first ... took 20 years until the first data on cross-contamination of human cell lines with ... been an increasing issue in cell culture labs and is associated with dramatic consequences ...
Breaking Biology Technology: