Researchers at the Epigenetics and Cancer Biology Program at IDIBELL led by Manel Esteller, ICREA researcher and professor of genetics at the University of Barcelona, have described alterations in noncoding long chain RNA sequences (lncRNA) in Rett syndrome.
These molecules act as supervisor agents responsible of 'switch on' or 'switch off' other genes in our genome that regulate the activity of neurons. The work has been published in the last issue of the journal RNA Biology.
Only 5% of our genetic material are genes that encode proteins. The remaining 95% is known as dark genome or non-coding DNA and its function is still unknown. Part of this DNA produces RNA molecules called noncoding long chain RNA (lncRNAs).
Rett syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disease and it is the second most common cause of mental retardation in females after Down syndrome. Clinical symptoms occur between 6 and 18 months after birth and consist of a loss of cognitive, social and motor capacities accompanied by autistic behaviors, eg, stereotypic hand movements.
Today there is no effective treatment of the disease but the control of their symptoms. The syndrome is usually due to the presence of a mutation in MeCP2 epigenetic gene that, as a magnet, regulates the expression of many other genes of the cell.
Esteller's team works with a mouse model that faithfully reproduces the characteristics of the human Rett syndrome. In this study, researchers compared the expression of long chains of RNA in healthy and diseased animals and found that the presence of mutations in the Mecp2 gene causes alterations in the activity of lncRNA.
One such altered lncARN regulates the function of a key neurotransmitter in the nervous system in all vertebrates brain (GABA receptor). "Its alteration", says Esteller, "could explain the defects of communication between neurons in girls affected by Rett Syndrome."
According to Manel Esteller "this finding, in addition to increasing knowledge about the causes of the disease, could open the door to new therapeutic strategies that target lncRNA molecules or GABA receptor."
The study was supported by the Department of Health of the Generalitat de Catalunya, the Catalan Institute of Advanced Studies (ICREA), the Spanish Ministry of Health (E-RARE), the European Project EPINORC DISCHROM and the Fondation Lejeune (France) and the Catalan Association Rett Syndrome.
Petazzi P., Sandoval J., Szczesna K., Jorge O.C., Roa L., Sayols S., Gomez A., Huertas D. and Esteller M. Dysregulation of the long non-coding RNA transcriptome in a Rett syndrome mouse model. RNA Biology, 10(7), 2013.
Arantxa Mena | EurekAlert!
Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon
23.11.2017 | Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Migrating Cells: Folds in the cell membrane supply material for necessary blebs
23.11.2017 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
23.11.2017 | Information Technology
23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.11.2017 | Life Sciences