Triplex RNA motif binds cellular cGMP after expression in mammalian cells
The transmission of signals within cells is dependent on cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) as an important secondary messenger. German scientists have now developed an RNA that binds cGMP. As reported in the journal Angewandte Chemie, it is possible to suppress the cGMP signal cascade in genetically modified cells that produce this RNA.
cGMP plays an important role in processes such as the relaxation of the smooth muscle tissue in blood vessels and consequently in the regulation of blood pressure. Malfunction of the cGMP signaling pathway may be related to cardiovascular disease.
Experimental manipulation of the endogenous cGMP levels in cells should lead to a better understanding of the spatial and temporal dynamics involved, as well as the functionality of cGMP. While there are many ways to stimulate cGMP, including the use of nitrogen monoxide (NO), researchers have thus far not had a means to artificially lower cellular cGMP concentration.
Scientists from the Universities of Stuttgart and Tübingen have now developed a method by which they can “trap” cGMP molecules in cells. To achieve this they genetically modified the cells to produce specially designed RNA molecules that bind cGMP.
RNA, ribonucleic acid, is familiar to us as a building block of ribosomes, an amino acid transporter, and as messenger RNA, which copies blueprints from DNA and transports them to the ribosomes, where protein synthesis takes place. Further physiological roles have also now been found, such as catalytically active RNAs or RNAs that regulate gene expression by binding to complementary sequences. In addition, there are riboswitches, sequences in the messenger RNA that bind low-molecular metabolites and thus regulate gene expression.
A team led by Stuttgart chemist Clemens Richert and Tübingen biochemist Robert Feil has now successfully used specially developed RNA sequences to reduce the concentration of small molecules capable of base pairing in cells. To achieve this, the Stuttgart chemists developed a special folding motif that binds cGMP. The structure is based on a triple strand of RNA, known as a triplex. One of the three strands forms a loop that frames the binding cavity for cGMP. This motif is repeated multiple times in a long continuous sequence, so the researchers named their RNA construct “endless”.
In order to test the functionality of the “endless” construct in living cells, the biochemists in Tuebingen produced an artificial gene that codes for the “endless” RNA, and introduced it into cells obtained from the blood vessels of mice. This is a well-established model for the study of cGMP signaling pathways. In these cells, NO triggers signal cascades transmitted by cGMP. In cells that expressed “endless”, these cascades were suppressed and the cGMP level was significantly lower than in control cells. The “endless” RNA acts as a sink for cGMP and should be very useful in further research into the physiological role of cGMP.
About the Author
Clemens Richert is a synthetic organic chemist and Chair of Biological Chemistry at the University of Stuttgart. His research focuses on functional nucleic acids. He is also the chairman of the German Nucleic Acid Chemistry Society, DNG e.V. (http://dnarna.de).
Author: Clemens Richert, Universität Stuttgart (Germany), http://chip.chemie.uni-stuttgart.de/
Title: Endless: A Purine Binding Motif that Can Be Expressed in Cells
Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201403579
Clemens Richert | Angewandte Chemie
MACC1 Gene Is an Independent Prognostic Biomarker for Survival in Klatskin Tumor Patients
31.08.2015 | Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin in der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft
Fish Oil-Diet Benefits May be Mediated by Gut Microbes
28.08.2015 | University of Gothenburg
The leaves of the lotus flower, and other natural surfaces that repel water and dirt, have been the model for many types of engineered liquid-repelling surfaces. As slippery as these surfaces are, however, tiny water droplets still stick to them. Now, Penn State researchers have developed nano/micro-textured, highly slippery surfaces able to outperform these naturally inspired coatings, particularly when the water is a vapor or tiny droplets.
Enhancing the mobility of liquid droplets on rough surfaces could improve condensation heat transfer for power-plant heat exchangers, create more efficient...
Longer, more severe, and hotter droughts and a myriad of other threats, including diseases and more extensive and severe wildfires, are threatening to transform some of the world's temperate forests, a new study published in Science has found. Without informed management, some forests could convert to shrublands or grasslands within the coming decades.
"While we have been trying to manage for resilience of 20th century conditions, we realize now that we must prepare for transformations and attempt to ease...
A University of Oklahoma astrophysicist and his Chinese collaborator have found two supermassive black holes in Markarian 231, the nearest quasar to Earth, using observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
The discovery of two supermassive black holes--one larger one and a second, smaller one--are evidence of a binary black hole and suggests that supermassive...
A team of European researchers have developed a model to simulate the impact of tsunamis generated by earthquakes and applied it to the Eastern Mediterranean. The results show how tsunami waves could hit and inundate coastal areas in southern Italy and Greece. The study is published today (27 August) in Ocean Science, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).
Though not as frequent as in the Pacific and Indian oceans, tsunamis also occur in the Mediterranean, mainly due to earthquakes generated when the African...
In mountainous regions earthquakes often cause strong landslides, which can be exacerbated by heavy rain. However, after an initial increase, the frequency of these mass wasting events, often enormous and dangerous, declines, in fact independently of meteorological events and aftershocks.
These new findings are presented by a German-Franco-Japanese team of geoscientists in the current issue of the journal Geology, under the lead of the GFZ...
20.08.2015 | Event News
20.08.2015 | Event News
19.08.2015 | Event News
01.09.2015 | Press release
01.09.2015 | Materials Sciences
01.09.2015 | Materials Sciences