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Researchers rein in regulatory RNAs

le transcript that is expected under the traditional one gene-one transcript model. Furthermore, the SATs tended to be poly(A)-negative and enriched in the nucleus, which strongly suggests a functional role for these transcripts in gene regulation.

Abe and Kiyosawa also evaluated four Arabidopsis SAT pairs and demonstrated that these molecular characteristics were largely conserved in plants.

"Conventional belief in molecular biology suggests that poly(A)+ mRNAs are major mediators in flows of genetic information," Abe explains. "However, the information obtained from this study implies that some classes of poly(A)-negative nuclear RNA may have important biological functions."

Among these functions may be the regulation of gene expression on a domain level, such as that which has been documented for several imprinted loci. Antisense transcripts have been shown to alter the methylation status of the overlapping partner gene. SATs might also trigger posttranscriptional gene regulation via RNA interference (RNAi) by virtue of their ability to form double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) molecules.

A large proportion of these antisense RNAs represent non-coding RNAs. Thus, the researchers expect that these results will lead to a better understanding of roles of non-coding RNAs in gene regulation.


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Source:Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory


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