Navigation Links
Scientists identify genetic pathways essential to RNA interference

A research team based at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has identified 80 new genes essential to the process of RNA interference (RNAi), a powerful new research tool for inactivating genes in plants or animals. They used the RNAi process itself to find new genes that participate in the gene-silencing mechanism, which someday may help to fight human disease. The report will appear in the journal Science and is receiving early online release on the Science Express website at http://www.sciencexpress.org.

"The gene activation produced by RNAi is exquisitely specific, which gives it enormous potential for therapeutic application," says Gary Ruvkun, PhD, of the MGH Department of Molecular Biology, the study's senior author. "Imagine short, double-stranded RNA molecules that could be synthesized quickly and inexpensively to silence a single gene. Promising targets could include viruses like HIV and hepatitis C or cancer-causing oncogenes. An RNAi-based treatment for age-related macular degeneration is already in clinical trials." Ruvkun is a professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School.

RNAi was originally identified in the C. elegans roundworm and the flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana, both of which are common model organisms for biological research. The process interrupts the usual transfer of instructions from double-stranded DNA, through single-stranded messenger RNA and finally into proteins. Short, double-stranded pieces of RNA bind to the complementary messenger RNA segments, shutting down gene expression. RNAi occurs naturally in plants and animals and may help control resistance to viral infection, among other functions.

For the current study, lead author John Kim, PhD, and his colleagues developed a strain of C. elegans into which they added a gene that caused the worms to glow under ultraviolet light but also turned that gene off using RNAi. They then used RNAi to inactivate every one of the worms' 19,000 genes by feeding the worms bacteria that produce double-stranded RNA for each gene. Inactivation of about 90 genes caused the worms to glow, indicating that those genes were essential to the RNAi process that had been suppressing expression of the fluorescence gene.

Some of the identified genes - many of which have human counterparts - code for proteins involved with the packaging and processing of RNA, but others may be involved with the regulation of DNA itself, including the repair of DNA damage. "These new steps indicate there is more to RNAi than RNA destruction," says Kim. "And the connection to DNA damage pathways, which was totally unexpected, suggests a potential connection between RNAi and the control of cell division in cancer."

The researchers note that better understanding the mechanisms underlying RNAi could help transform what has been a research tool into a powerful therapeutic tool. Although the process has worked well in studies of cultured human cells, it has not yet been effective for experimentally suppressing gene expression in living mammals. Identifying each step in the RNAi process could lead to more successful inactivation of disease-related genes. And in addition to the technique's potential for gene silencing, controlling levels of RNAi that may underlie some cancers or be used in viral replication may offer further clinical potential.

Along with Kim, the study's co-first authors are Harrison Gabel and Ravi Kamath, MD, PhD, of the MGH Department of Molecular Biology. Additional authors are Muneesh Tewari, MD, PhD, Jean-Francois Rual, Nicolas Bertin, and Marc Vidal, PhD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Amy Pasquinelli, PhD, of the University of California at San Diego; Scott Kennedy, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin; and Michael Dybbs and Joshua Kaplan, PhD, of MGH. The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Massachusetts General Hospital, established in 1811, is the original and largest tea ching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with an annual research budget of more than $450 million and major research centers in AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, cutaneous biology, medical imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, transplantation biology and photomedicine. In 1994, MGH and Brigham and Women's Hospital joined to form Partners HealthCare System, an integrated health care delivery system comprising the two academic medical centers, specialty and community hospitals, a network of physician groups, and nonacute and home health services.


'"/>

Source:Massachusetts General Hospital


Related biology news :

1. Scientists ID molecular switch in liver that triggers harmful effects of saturated and trans fats
2. Scientists Replicate Hepatitis C Virus in Laboratory
3. Scientists detect probable genetic cause of some Parkinsons disease cases
4. Scientists find missing enzyme for tuberculosis iron scavenging pathway
5. Scientists seek answers on what activates deadly anthrax spores
6. Yale Scientists Find MicroRNA Regulates Ras Cancer Gene
7. Scientists collaborate to assess health of global environment
8. Scientists decipher genome of fungus that can cause life-threatening infections
9. Scientists discover the cellular roots of graying hair
10. Scientists rid stem cell culture of key animal cells
11. Scientists develop new color-coded test for protein folding
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:12/6/2016)... 6, 2016  Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. (NYSE and SIX: ... offering of €500.0 million principal amount of its 1.414% senior ... its 2.425% senior unsecured notes due 2026. ... December 13, 2016, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.  ... The Company intends to use the ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... , Dec. 1, 2016   SoftServe , ... BioLock , an electrocardiogram (ECG) biosensor analysis ... a key IoT asset. The smart system ensures ... vehicle,s steering wheel and mobile devices to easily ... As vehicle technology advances, so too ...
(Date:11/29/2016)... Nearly one billion matches per second with DERMALOG,s high-speed AFIS    ... ... DERMALOG is Germany's largest Multi-Biometric supplier: The ... Identification Systems) ... Germany's largest Multi-Biometric supplier: The company's Fingerprint Identification System is part of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... ... 1, 2016 asking the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to consider OA as a ... OARSI is concerned about the growing population of OA patients, many of whom ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... Colorado (PRWEB) , ... December 06, 2016 , ... ... dynamic aqueous plasma technology platforms, announced today that the company has engaged in ... Research and Development Agreement (MRDA) with the CSU Office of the Vice President ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... , Dec. 6, 2016  Creative Medical Technology ... , MD, PhD, FANA, FAAN to the Company,s Scientific ... and clinical trials to assist the Company,s clinical development ... AmnioStem product is a universal donor stem cell derived ... in animal models of stroke 1 .  ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... Australia , Dec. 6, 2016  The ... Informatics Society of Australia (HISA) today announced the ... startup exchange program between Australia ... in the world. HISA and the ... initiating a program to create a global health innovation ...
Breaking Biology Technology: