Navigation Links
Newly identified RNA sequence is key in microRNA processing
Date:8/16/2010

BOSTON (August 16, 2010) Researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine and Tufts Medical Center have identified an RNA sequence that promotes increased numbers of specific microRNAs (miRNAs), molecules that regulate cell growth, development, and stress response. The discovery helps researchers understand the links between miRNA expression and disease, including heart disease and cancer. The findings are published in the August 13 issue of Molecular Cell.

"A growing body of evidence shows that abnormal expression of miRNAs can contribute to human diseases such as heart disease and cancer. A better understanding of how miRNAs are generated and how they regulate genes may provide important insights into the mechanisms of physiological disorders such as heart disease and cancer," said senior author Akiko Hata, PhD, associate professor in the department of biochemistry at Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) and a member of the biochemistry and cell, molecular and developmental biology program faculties at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts.

MiRNAs are initially formed as a long sequence of RNA called the primary miRNA. This molecule undergoes several steps to transform it into mature miRNA. Once formed, the mature miRNAs regulate gene expression by silencing or activating target genes. More than 700 human miRNAs with various functions are currently known.

Hata and colleagues previously found that the processing of some miRNAs could be regulated in response to cellular signals from a specific signaling pathway. In the current study, Hata and colleagues found that most of the miRNAs regulated by this signaling pathway share a common RNA sequence. When this RNA sequence was mutated, the signaling pathway no longer regulated miRNA processing. Conversely, when the RNA sequence was introduced into a new miRNA, the miRNA became responsive to the signaling pathway.

"An enzyme called Drosha is needed for miRNA processing. Our previous studies determined that proteins called Smads are also required for the processing of some miRNAs in response to cellular signals. Now, we have identified the RNA sequence that recruits Drosha and Smads for miRNA processing in response to the signaling pathway," said first author Brandi Davis, PhD, a 2010 graduate of the biochemistry program at the Sackler School and a postdoctoral fellow in Hata's lab. "We knew that Smad proteins regulate gene expression by binding to DNA. Our current study is exciting because it shows that Smads play an additional role, controlling miRNA expression by binding to the structurally different RNA."

While miRNAs were first discovered in 1993, scientists did not link them to gene regulation until nearly ten years later. Now, scientists are working to understand how miRNA expression is controlled, what genes miRNAs target, and how varying levels of miRNAs are related to human disease, particularly heart disease and cancer.

"Scientists are just beginning to understand the roles of miRNA in the body, and this study adds another piece to the puzzle. By investigating the mechanisms that govern which genes are translated and which genes are silenced, we can begin to understand how miRNAs impact the progression of cardiovascular diseases and cancer," said Hata.

Hata is also the director of the Molecular Signaling Laboratory in the Molecular Cardiology Research Institute (MCRI) at Tufts Medical Center. The MCRI, with investigators and physician-scientists from Tufts University School of Medicine and Tufts Medical Center, is dedicated to the study of the molecular mechanisms of human cardiovascular disease, the translation of bench findings to new bedside strategies for diagnosis and therapy, and the mentoring of MD and PhD trainees committed to a career in academic cardiovascular research.


'/>"/>

Contact: Siobhan Gallagher
617-636-6586
Tufts University, Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Newly-discovered mechanism can explain the Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome
2. Newly identified gene powerful predictor of colon cancer metastasis
3. Newly found enzymes may play early role in cancer
4. Obesity starts in the head? 6 newly discovered genes for obesity have a neural effect
5. UC Davis research shows that newly discovered drug reduces heart enlargement
6. Newly described contaminant sources in Katrina-flooded homes pose health risks
7. DNA evidence is in, newly discovered species of fish dubbed H. psychedelica
8. Newly discovered gene plays vital role in cancer
9. Newly discovered epidermal growth factor receptor active in human pancreatic cancers
10. Newly discovered reactions from an old drug may lead to new antibiotics
11. Newly discovered snow roots are evolutionary phenomenon
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/26/2017)... 26, 2017  Acuity Market Intelligence today released ... Digital Identity".  Acuity characterizes 2017 as a "breakout" ... adoption reflects a new understanding of the potential ... and digital identity are often perceived as threats ... , Principal of Acuity Market intelligence. "However, taken ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... 2017  It sounds simple and harmless—an electronic ... vital signs and alerts parents on their smart ... level drops. But pediatric experts argue that such ... no evidence of medical benefits, especially to healthy ... to parents of healthy babies, promising peace of ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... India , January 19, 2017 According to a ... Opportunities and Forecast, 2014 - 2022," the global biometric sensor market is expected ... 2016 to 2022. In 2015, Asia-Pacific dominated the global ... and private sectors. Continue Reading ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/24/2017)... -- China Biologic Products, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBPO) ("China Biologic" or ... China, today announced its financial results for the fourth quarter ... 2016 Financial Highlights Total sales in ... terms, or increased by 13.6% in USD terms to $77.6 ... Gross profit increased by 13.3% to $46.8 ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... , ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... Discovery Services portfolio to include an array of biochemical analyses critical for ... data to drive their hit-to-lead and SAR programs, including inhibitor potency and selectivity, ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... 2017  Imanis Life Sciences announced today the ... vaccinia viruses for virotherapy research. These viruses are ... proprietary, vaccinia virus-based technology platform for research use. ... a partnership with Genelux to offer researchers, for ... use in research," said Dr. Kah Whye ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... , ... The Greater Gift Initiative, Inc , (GGI) a Winston-Salem, NC ... GGI's mission is to advance global health and highlight the greater good of clinical ... each clinical trial volunteer. The vision of GGI is to serve as a philanthropic ...
Breaking Biology Technology: