Navigation Links
U of T-led study cracks universal RNA code, suggests a new cause for autism

The discovery cracks the "RNA control code," which dictates how RNA a family of molecules that mediates DNA expression moves genetic information from DNA to create proteins.

"For the first time, we understand the language of a code that is essential to gene processing," said Quaid Morris, a Professor in U of T's Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research and the Banting and Best Department of Medical Research. "Many human diseases are due to defects in this code, so figuring out what it means is crucial to creating new treatments for many conditions."

The scientific journal Nature published the study results in its July 11, 2013 issue.

The researchers translated the code with a biochemical technique developed by a research scientist in Hughes' lab, Debashish Ray, and a student in Morris's lab, Hilal Kazan. The team defined the meaning of "words" in RNA, allowing identification of patterns in RNA molecules that proteins use to control RNA processing and movement, which are often altered in disease.

One protein they looked at may explain some of the symptoms in children with autism. The researchers found that RBFOX1, a protein often turned off in the brains of patients, ensures the activity of genes important for the function of nerve cells in the brain.

"This was a surprising finding, because we knew RBFOX1 controls gene expression, but had no idea it also stabilizes RNA," said Tim Hughes, a Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and the Donnelly Centre. "It's a good example of the predictive power of the RNA control code, which we think will really open up the field of gene regulation."

Hughes said the work also shows that the RNA control code may be easier to interpret than a similar control code in DNA. Researchers have been struggling for years to understand this DNA control code, but the new results suggest RNA control could offer a more fruitful area of inquiry, with autism as just one example.

The team is now working with autism experts to assess the potential of RBFOX1 in autism therapies, and exploring promising leads on the roles of unstudied proteins in many other diseases.


Contact: Jim Oldfield
University of Toronto

Related biology news :

1. Vanderbilt-led team to develop microbrain to improve drug testing
2. Study finds surprising benefits about diary cow inflammation
3. Metastatic pancreatic, primary breast cancer have common growth mechanisms, study suggests
4. Journal highlights Arctic sea ice study by UM professor
5. Innovative MIT study estimates extent to which air pollution in China shortens human lives
6. Temperature increases causing tropical forests to blossom, according to study
7. New study reveals important role of insulin in making breast milk
8. Study reveals ancient jigsaw puzzle of past supercontinent
9. Reproductive BioMedicine Online publishes study on assisted reproduction
10. Lifesaving HIV treatment could reach millions more people following landmark study
11. Low levels of toxic proteins linked to brain diseases, study suggests
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/2/2016)... The Department of Transport Management (DOTM) of ... Dollar project, for the , Supply and Delivery ... IT Infrastructure , to Decatur ... Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international vendors participated in the ... was selected for the most compliant and innovative solution. The ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... 1, 2016 Favorable Government Initiatives ... and Criminal Identification to Boost Global Biometrics System Market ... TechSci Research report, " Global Biometrics Market By ... and Opportunities, 2011 - 2021", the global biometrics market ... on account of growing security concerns across various end ...
(Date:5/16/2016)... , May 16, 2016   EyeLock LLC ... today announced the opening of an IoT Center of ... strengthen and expand the development of embedded iris biometric ... unprecedented level of convenience and security with unmatched biometric ... one,s identity aside from DNA. EyeLock,s platform uses video ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... for clinical trials, announced today the Clinical Reach Virtual Patient Encounter CONSULT ... care circle with the physician and clinical trial team. , Using the CONSULT module, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... discussions on a range of subjects including policies, debt and ... Poloz. Speaking at a lecture to the Canadian ... to the country,s inflation target, which is set by both ... "In certain areas there needs to be ... why not sit down and address strategy together?" ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... UAS LifeSciences, one of the ... brand, UP4™ Probiotics, into Target stores nationwide. The company, which has been manufacturing ... to its list of well-respected retailers. This list includes such fine stores as ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 23, 2016 , ... Charm Sciences, Inc. is pleased to ... AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , “This is another AOAC-RI approval of the ... Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial Affairs. “The Peel Plate methods perform comparably ...
Breaking Biology Technology: