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:5/16/2016)... 2016   EyeLock LLC , a market leader ... of an IoT Center of Excellence in ... development of embedded iris biometric applications. EyeLock,s ... and security with unmatched biometric accuracy, making it the ... DNA. EyeLock,s platform uses video technology to deliver a ...
(Date:5/9/2016)... 9, 2016 Elevay is currently ... expanding freedom for high net worth professionals seeking travel ... globally connected world, there is still no substitute for ... duplicate sealing your deal with a firm handshake. This ... taking advantage of citizenship via investment programs like those ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... BANGALORE, India , April 28, 2016 ... of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ), and Samsung SDS, ... partnership that will provide end customers with a more ... payment services.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130122/589162 ) ... financial services, but it also plays a fundamental part in ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... Parallel ... clinical trials, announced today the Clinical Reach Virtual Patient Encounter CONSULT module ... circle with the physician and clinical trial team. , Using the CONSULT module, patients ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... June 27, 2016  Liquid Biotech ... funding of a Sponsored Research Agreement with The ... cells (CTCs) from cancer patients.  The funding will ... levels correlate with clinical outcomes in cancer patients ... will then be employed to support the design ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016 Epic Sciences unveiled a ... susceptible to PARP inhibitors by targeting homologous recombination ... The new test has already been incorporated into ... cancer types. Over 230 clinical trials ... pathways, including PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK and WEE-1. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Mosio, ... second eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical ... eBook by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The ...
Breaking Biology Technology: