That's because University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers have discovered that the RNA degradation, which, when improperly regulated can lead to cancer and other diseases, can be launched in an unexpected location.
"We've been seeing only half the picture," says Vladimir Spiegelman, lead author on the new study and associate professor of dermatology at the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health.
The Wisconsin team also found that CRD-BP, a protein activated in colorectal and other cancers, can prevent RNA from degrading in the newly identified spot.
The finding may have broad implications for cancer research as well as biology in general.
"The finding is important for the proto-oncogenes, or precursor cancer genes, we study, but it may be even more important for the thousands of other genes and proteins that are regulated in a similar way," says Spiegelman.
The study appears in the July 31 issue of Molecular Cell.
Spiegelman and his team study proto-oncogenes and other potential "cancer-causers" normally found in cells, analyzing them as they are "converted" from DNA into RNA and ultimately active proteins that can lead to cancer.
It's the same multistep process all genes in a cell — including "cancer-preventers" such as tumor suppressors, anti-inflammatory factors and cell death promoters — go through.
Controls at each step usually keep the process working smoothly, but if a control fails at any number of places along the way, a cancer-promoting gene can tilt the delicately balanced scale toward malignancy.
In their previous work, the Wisconsin researchers found that regulation of some proto-oncogenes occurs after CRD-BP binds to messenger RNA (mRNA). During this intermediary step, mRNA is typically either degraded or goes on unharmed to the next step of translation. The Wisconsin team showed that the mRNA bound by CRD-BP was not degraded, and thus became an active protein — in this case, a full-fledged cancer-causing oncogene.
Until the Spiegelman group's latest study appeared, scientists assumed that the regulation of mRNA fate took place exclusively in an area of the RNA strand called the 3 prime untranslated region, where small regulatory RNAs called microRNAs (miRNA) bind and inhibit mRNAs.
But the Wisconsin team found degradation can also be initiated in an area on the mRNA strand called the coding region.
"This changes the paradigm," says Spiegelman. "Now we can examine this important activity in two places."
The researchers demonstrated that degradation occurs here using a human mRNA, and described the mechanism by which CRD-BP stabilizes the mRNA and prevents it from degrading and expressing more protein.
"This may be the first example of a negative regulator of an miRNA-dependent RNA-degrading mechanism," Spiegelman says.
The mechanism is relevant to many proteins, he says.
"Understanding this mechanism should also help us in studying cell signaling pathways related to pro-inflammatory and cell death factors that contribute to tumor development," he says.
Dian Land | EurekAlert!
Exploring how herpes simplex virus changes when passed between family members
23.10.2017 | Penn State
Key discoveries offer significant hope of reversing antibiotic resistance
23.10.2017 | University of Bristol
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
23.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.10.2017 | Earth Sciences
23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine