Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A kiss that binds

18.04.2005


Understanding the interaction of Fragile X mental retardation protein and kissing complex RNAs



Fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited form of mental retardation, affecting approximately 1 in 3600 males and 1 in 4000-6000 females. Fragile X syndrome results from loss of expression of the Fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP), the product of the FMR1 gene. Now, Drs. Robert and Jennifer Darnell and colleagues, from The Rockefeller University, report the uncovering of a new interaction between FMRP and messenger RNAs (mRNAs) containing a tertiary RNA structure termed a "kissing complex".
Their studies, published in the April 15th issue of Genes & Development, provide a new direction for efforts to understand how the loss of FMRP function leads to the complex behavioral and cognitive defects characteristic of Fragile X syndrome.

While the importance of identifying a function for FMRP has been clear for some time, what this function actually is has continued to evade researchers. FMRP is a protein characterized by the presence of three RNA binding domains: two tandem KH-type RNA binding domains and an RGG box. Scientists have focused on the identification of FMRP RNA ligands in an effort to understand FMRP function. This effort is particularly meaningful since FMRP is believed to regulate mRNA translation in the brain, and identifying the mRNA targets of this regulation would be a huge step in understanding how loss of this protein results in the varied and complex phenotypes of Fragile X syndrome.



In most Fragile X patients, loss of FMRP is due to silencing of FMR1 resulting from the unusual amplification of a CGG repeat (over 200 copies in affected patients versus less than 60 copies in unaffected individuals) that leads to hypermethylation of FMR1 and shut down of transcription of the gene. However, Fragile X patients expressing mutations or deletions within the FMR1 gene have also been described, including a severely affected patient harboring a missense mutation that resulted in a one amino acid change, isoleucine at position 304 for asparagine, in one of the KH domains of FMRP, KH2.

Dr. Darnell and colleagues focused on understanding how this specific mutation leads to loss of FMRP function. They first screened an RNA library to identify what RNA motif is recognized by the KH2 domain. They found that the KH2 domain of FMRP recognizes a loop-loop pseudoknot, or "kissing complex" structure in the RNA, and that this recognition is abrogated by the isoleucine to asparagine mutation. Notably, they show that the association of FMRP with the translation machinery (in brain polyribosomes) can be competed out with kissing complex RNA, an important finding since previous biochemical studies have reported altered polyribosome distribution of mRNAs in Fragile X patients.

These findings will redirect the search for the RNA targets of FMRP whose misregulation is responsible for the disease, to those containing kissing complex motifs.

Though much remains to be understood in the biology leading to Fragile X syndrome and the function of FMRP, Dr. Darnell is confident that "these findings may provide a crucial link between the association of FMRP in brain polyribosomes, its proposed role in regulation mRNA translation, and neurologic dysfunction in the Fragile X syndrome".

Heather Cosel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cshl.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Molecular evolution: How the building blocks of life may form in space
26.04.2018 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht Multifunctional bacterial microswimmer able to deliver cargo and destroy itself
26.04.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Intelligente Systeme

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Why we need erasable MRI scans

New technology could allow an MRI contrast agent to 'blink off,' helping doctors diagnose disease

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

World's smallest optical implantable biodevice

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Molecular evolution: How the building blocks of life may form in space

26.04.2018 | Life Sciences

First Li-Fi-product with technology from Fraunhofer HHI launched in Japan

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>