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!
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences