Navigation Links
Study of microRNA helps NIH scientists unlock secrets of immune cells
Date:6/4/2010

With the rapid and continuous advances in biotechnology, scientists are better able to see inside the nucleus of a cell to unlock the secrets of its genetic material. However, what happens outside of the nucleus has, in many ways, remained a mystery. Now, researchers with the National Institutes of Health are closer to understanding how activity outside of the nucleus determines a cell's behavior. They looked at mouse immune cells and examined the types, amount, and activity of microRNAs, genetic components that help regulate the production of proteins. Their study provides a map to the variety of microRNAs contained within mouse immune cells and reveals the complexity of cellular protein regulation. The study appears online in the journal Immunity.

An organism is made up of cells containing genetic material in the form of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) residing within the nucleus. An organism's entire collection of DNA is called its genome and consists of genes, short segments of DNA that code for proteins, and many long segments of DNA that do not contain genes. While each cell contains the entire genome, not all of a cell's genes are making proteins all of the time. Which genes are turned on and which are turned off, and when, determine the behavior of a cell, such as the type of cell it becomes, where it goes, and what it does.

"A plethora of cellular functions, ranging from development, differentiation, metabolism, and host defense, are impacted by protein levels," said Rafael Casellas, Ph.D., the study's principal investigator from the Genomics and Immunity Group of the NIH's National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). " We were interested in discovering how microRNAs contribute to the regulation of these functions."

A cell makes proteins through a process called transcription, in which genes are copied from DNA into messenger ribonucleic acid (RNA), which travels from the nucleus into the body of the cell. Not all RNA transcribed from DNA are messenger RNA, however. There are many other forms of RNA that do not code for proteins. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), for example, are small strands of RNA that modulate the production of proteins from messenger RNA, thereby helping to regulate protein levels in the cell. Previous studies have shown that cells are very sensitive to fluctuations in miRNA levels, which require tight control in order to regulate protein activity effectively.

In the current study, the NIH scientists used a new microsequencing technology to comprehensively identify all of the different miRNAs existing in mouse immune cells. In addition to increasing the number of known miRNAs, the scientists also discovered several cellular mechanisms that regulate miRNA abundance. The study found that some miRNA constructs exist in a dormant state within the nucleus until they receive signals from the epigenome to become active. The epigenome regulates transcription and comprises all of the non-genetic material in the nucleus. Other miRNAs, the researchers determined, are not hampered by these epigenetic mechanisms and are controlled simply through transcription. However, for some of these miRNAs, abundance depends upon the amount of target messenger RNA available in the cell.

According to NIAMS Director Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., "The data generated from this study represent a useful tool for immunologists and cell biologists to use for future studies on functional aspects of the immune system and basic miRNA biology."


'/>"/>

Contact: Trish Reynolds
reynoldsp2@mail.nih.gov
301-496-8190
NIH/National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Childhood obesity indicates greater risk of school absenteeism, Penn study reveals
2. A study by the MUHC and McGill University opens a new door to understanding cancer
3. Study begins to reveal clues to the cause and progression of sepsis
4. Clones on task serve greater good, evolutionary study shows
5. New study warns limited carbon market puts 20 percent of tropical forest at risk
6. New study examines how rearing environment can alter navigation
7. Study links cat disease to flame retardants in furniture and to pet food
8. New continent and species discovered in Atlantic study
9. Study shows link between alcohol consumption and hiv disease progression
10. Feeling hot, hot, hot: New study suggests ways to control fever-induced seizures
11. Study finds environmental tests help predict hospital-acquired Legionnaires disease risk
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/12/2017)... India , January 12, 2017 A new report by ... projects that the global biometric technology market is expected to generate revenue of $10.72 ... Continue Reading ... Allied Market ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140911/647229) ...
(Date:1/11/2017)...  Michael Johnson, co-founder of Visikol Inc. a company originally funded ... named to the elite "Forbes 30 Under 30" list in the ... in 20 fields nationwide to be recognized as a leader in ... selected. ... currently a PhD candidate at Rutgers University. ...
(Date:1/6/2017)... BOULDER, Colo. , Jan. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... join the "Digital Life Alliance" established by iCarbonX, ... in 2015 to build a "Global Digital Health ... based on a combination of individual,s biological, behavioral ... Under the agreement between the companies, SomaLogic will ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/17/2017)... Maine (PRWEB) , ... January 17, 2017 , ... ... the addition of Rheumatoid Factor (RF) to its VALIDATE® SP2 calibration verification / ... Factor in a human serum base. Each VALIDATE® SP2 kit is prepared using ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... -- Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. (NYSE and SIX: ZBH) today ... earnings conference call will be broadcast live over the ... Eastern Time.  A news release detailing the quarterly and ... Eastern Time the morning of the conference call. ... Zimmer Biomet,s Investor Relations website at http://investor.zimmerbiomet.com . ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... N.Y. , Jan. 17, 2017  Northwell ... speed the advance of precision cancer research. ... largest health care provider, Northwell Health ... year. Indivumed, GmbH is a Germany ... anti-cancer medical therapies. Together they will greatly expand ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... ... January 17, 2017 , ... ... epigenetics research, recently announced a collaboration with the Heidelberg University Hospital and the ... for library preparation, following the company’s successful launch of its CATS (Capture ...
Breaking Biology Technology: