The finding could have implications in the future for maintenance of healthy muscle or muscle regeneration in certain diseases, for example cancer and neuromuscular conditions such as muscular dystrophy.
The complexity and significance of microRNA molecules has only recently been recognized and they have been implicated in many biological processes, including disease. Until now nothing was known about their role in the development of skeletal muscle, which is pivotal for movement and supports healthy ageing.
Published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the study was carried out by researchers in the School of Biological Sciences at UEA and the Weizmann Institute of Science, in Rehovot, Israel.
They showed that a particular microRNA, called miR-206, is crucial for normal muscle development in the embryo. MiR-206 switches off a gene called Pax3, this in turn allows early stage muscle cells to become more specialised contractile cells needed for muscle to function. The researchers suggest that this regulation is also important in adult muscle stem cells, which differentiate in response to muscle injury or exercise.
Lead author Andrea Münsterberg, professor in developmental biology at UEA, said: "Muscle is vital to our well being, but it can become fragile, for example as we age or through muscle-wasting diseases. Therefore understanding how muscle tissue develops and is maintained is important."
"Discovering how the Pax3 gene is regulated by miR-206 and controls other genes that lead to muscle differentiation is significant. If you control Pax3 you could control when cells become more specialised and take on their unique function. We suggest that what we have learnt about embryo development also applies to adult muscle."
Prof Münsterberg added: "While not the focus of this study, in theory if we could enhance the function of microRNAs in the body we might in the future be able to promote the maintenance of healthy muscle or muscle regeneration in certain diseases."
The study, 'MicroRNA regulation of the paired-box transcription factor Pax3 confers robustness to developmental timing of myogenesis', is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS): www.pnas.org/content/early/recent
Closing in on advanced prostate cancer
13.12.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)
Visualizing single molecules in whole cells with a new spin
13.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine
13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
13.12.2017 | Life Sciences