Ribonucleic acid, or RNA, has long been thought to be important only to translate a gene’s DNA into the proteins that are cells’ workhorses. But new evidence shows that tiny bits of RNA not used to make proteins actually play central roles in normal biology and in the development of cancers.
"Scientists have known for a few years that production of these tiny RNAs, known as microRNAs, is only supposed to happen at certain times and in certain tissues, but no one had been able to identify what controlled the timing," says Joshua Mendell, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine. "We’ve identified the first such controller, a well-studied protein called Myc. Our discovery fits in quite well with the two other labs’ studies on the involvement of microRNAs in cancer." The work from investigators at Johns Hopkins is one of three papers on microRNAs in the June 9 issue of Nature.
Identified only a few years ago, microRNAs’ best-known function is to control the extent to which other genes can be used to make proteins, by binding to and interfering with genes’ protein building-instructions. The microRNAs play roles in cell division, cell specialization and cell death in worms and flies and are off-kilter in human cancers, but the Myc protein is the first factor identified that controls the production of microRNAs.
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Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
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