EMBO reports, a life sciences journal published by the European Molecular Biology Organization, has just published online the scientists’ findings about small non-coding RNAs.
While RNA is known to be key to our cells’ successful creation of proteins, the role of small non-coding RNAs, a newly discovered cousin of the former, has eluded scientific understanding for the most part. Until now, it was only surmised that most of these molecules had nothing to do with protein production.
However, scientists at SFU, the University of British Columbia and the B.C. Cancer Agency have discovered that many non-coding RNAs are perturbed in cancerous human cells, including breast and lung, in a specific way. The disturbance, which manifests itself as shorter than normal molecular messaging, also occurs at a specific spot on genes.
“These two identifiable characteristics give cancer-causing non-coding RNAs a chemical signature that makes it easy for scientists to identify them in the early stages of many different types of cancer,” says Steven Jones.
The SFU molecular biology and biochemistry professor is this study’s senior author, and the associate director and head of bioinformatics at the B.C. Cancer Agency’s Genome Sciences Centre.
“These molecules’ existence can also be used to classify cancer patients into subgroups of individuals with different survival outcomes,” adds Jones. “While the precise reason why a tumour would change the behaviour of genes in this way is not known, it is likely that it represents a mechanism by which the cancer can subvert and takeover the normally well controlled activity of our genes.”
This study uncovered non-coding RNAs’ cancerous role by using high-throughput sequencing techniques to analyse reams of genetic information on normal and diseased tissue as part of the Cancer Genome Atlas project.
The Cancer Genome Atlas is an ambitious project to characterize the genetic material of more than 500 tumours from more than 20 different cancers. The project provides a goldmine of data for bioinformaticians such as Jones.
Simon Fraser University is consistently ranked among Canada's top comprehensive universities and is one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 125,000 alumni in 130 countries.
Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.Contact:
Carol Thorbes | EurekAlert!
First images of dolphin brain circuitry hint at how they sense sound
07.07.2015 | Emory Health Sciences
Two are better than one – another checkpoint enzyme for flawless cell division
07.07.2015 | Universität Basel
Researchers explore ultrafast control of magnetism across interfaces: A new study discovers how the sudden excitation of lattice vibrations in a crystal can trigger a change of the magnetic properties of an atomically-thin layer that lies on its surface.
A research team, led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter at CFEL in Hamburg, the University of Oxford, and the...
Wind turbines could be installed under some of the biggest bridges on the road network to produce electricity. So it is confirmed by calculations carried out by a European researchers team, that have taken a viaduct in the Canary Islands as a reference. This concept could be applied in heavily built-up territories or natural areas with new constructions limitations.
The Juncal Viaduct, in Gran Canaria, has served as a reference for Spanish and British researchers to verify that the wind blowing between the pillars on this...
New technique combines electron microscopy and synchrotron X-rays to track chemical reactions under real operating conditions
A new technique pioneered at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory reveals atomic-scale changes during catalytic reactions in real...
Think of an object made of iron: An I-beam, a car frame, a nail. Now imagine that half of the iron in that object owes its existence to bacteria living two and a half billion years ago.
Think of an object made of iron: An I-beam, a car frame, a nail. Now imagine that half of the iron in that object owes its existence to bacteria living two and...
A team of scientists including PhD student Friedrich Schuler from the Laboratory of MEMS Applications at the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) of...
25.06.2015 | Event News
16.06.2015 | Event News
11.06.2015 | Event News
07.07.2015 | Health and Medicine
07.07.2015 | Health and Medicine
07.07.2015 | Materials Sciences