Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

We are not only eating 'materials', we are also eating 'information'

19.09.2011
In a new study, Chen-Yu Zhang's group at Nanjing university present a rather striking finding that plant miRNAs could make into the host blood and tissues via the route of food-intake. Moreover, once inside the host, they can elicit functions by regulating host "target" genes and thus regulate host physiology.

MicroRNAs are a class of 19-24 nucleotide non-coding RNAs that do not code for proteins. MicroRNAs bind to target messenger RNAs to inhibit protein translation. In previous studies, the same group has demonstrated that stable microRNAs (miRNAs) in mammalian serum and plasma are actively secreted from tissues and cells and can serve as a novel class of biomarkers for disease and act as signaling molecules in intercellular communication.

Here, they report the surprising finding that exogenous plant miRNAs are present in the sera and tissues of various animals and that these exogenous plant miRNAs are primarily acquired orally, through food intake. MIR168a is abundant in rice and is one of the most highly enriched exogenous plant miRNAs in the sera of Chinese subjects. Functional studies in vitro and in vivo demonstrated that MIR168a could bind to the human/mouse low density lipoprotein receptor adapter protein 1 (LDLRAP1) mRNA, inhibit LDLRAP1 expression in liver, and consequently decrease LDL removal from mouse plasma. These findings demonstrate that exogenous plant miRNAs in food can regulate the expression of target genes in and thus physiology of mammals.

The finding is obviously very thought-provoking; for instance, it would indicate that in addition to eating "materials" (in the form of carbohydrates, proteins, etc), you are also eating "information" (as different miRNAs from distinct food sources could well bear different consequences on the regulation of host physiology once taken by the host due to potential regulation of different target genes as determined by the "information" contained within the miRNA sequence), thus providing a whole new dimension to "You are what you eat". Furthermore, the potential significances of this finding would be:

has significantly expanded the functions of miRNAs;

is an extremely intriguing and novel idea that has far-ranging implications for human health and metabolism;

shed new light on our understanding of cross-domain (such as animal-plant) interactions, or perhaps even the 'co-evolution', and to open new ways of thinking about regulation of miRNAs, and about the potential roles of exogenous miRNAs such as those from food, plants and insects in prey-predator interactions;

provides evidence that plant miRNAs maybe the seventh "nutrient" in the food (the six others are: H2O, protein, FFA, carbohydrate, vitamins and real elements);

provides a novel mechanism of development of metabolic disorder.

provides evidence that plant miRNAs may represent essential functional molecules in Chinese traditional herb medicine,

Importantly, these results have far-reaching implications, including the establishment of a powerful experimental methodology to deliver small RNAs to animals for in vivo gene silencing and miRNA gain-of-function studies.

These findings also have major implications for the genetic engineering of plants using RNAi technologies and for the development of therapeutics that rely on small RNA delivery, since those interested in therapeutic applications of small RNAs inject doses of formulated or non-formulated RNAs that are up to 100mg/kg body weight - unimaginably higher - and have difficulty seeing an effect.

The researchers of this project include Lin Zhang1,*, Dongxia Hou1,*, Xi Chen1,*, Lingyun Zhu1, Yujing Zhang1, Jing Li1, Zhen Bian1, Xiangying Liang1, Xing Cai1, Yuan Yin1, Cheng Wang1, Tianfu Zhang1, Dihan Zhu1, Dianmu Zhang1, Jie Xu1, Qun Chen1, Yi Ba2, Jing Liu1, Qiang Wang1, Jianqun Chen1, Jin Wang1, Qipeng Zhang1, Junfeng Zhang1,†, Ke Zen1,†, and Chen-Yu Zhang1,†of Jiangsu Engineering Research Center for MicroRNA Biology and Biotechnology, State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Nanjing University, 22 Hankou Road, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210093, China

This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 30225037, 30471991, 30570731), the 973 Program of China (no. 2006CB503909, 2004CB518603), the "111" Project, the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (no. BK2004082, BK2006714)

Zhang et al.: " Exogenous plant MIR168a specifically targets mammalian LDLRAP1: an evidence of cross-kingdom regulation by microRNA " Publishing on Cell Research, September 20, 2011.

Author contact:
Chen-Yu Zhang (Jiangsu Engineering Research Center for MicroRNA Biology and Biotechnology, State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Nanjing University, China)

Tel: +86 25 8368 6234; E-mail: cyzhang@nju.edu.cn

Editorial contact:
Dangsheng Li (Cell Research, Shanghai, China)
Tel: +86 21 5492 2951; E-mail: dsli@sibs.ac.cn

Chen-Yu Zhang | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nju.edu.cn

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>