This discovery is of significant interest to the international scientific community. The results are published in this week’s edition of the American journal Nature Genetics.
The authors describe the discovery of a novel class of mutations that disrupt the function of a gene and thereby cause a specific phenotype. The mutation created the appearance of an “illegitimate” microRNA (miRNA) recognition site in a gene that did not have it in its normal form. In this study, the gene concerned is the myostatin. This gene is expressed in the skeletal muscle and the function of the derived protein is to inhibit muscular growth. The mutation discovered among sheep exposed a recognition site for two miRNAs that are highly expressed in the muscle. In “mutant” animals, these miRNAs will consequently target the myostatin gene and block its translation. The result is that the absence of myostatin provokes a muscular hypertrophy among Texel sheep.
A mechanism observed in other species as well
However, Michel Georges’ team investigated further. Pursuing the study using bioinformatic approaches, the team identified polymorphisms (common mutations) among humans and mice that are likely to act in the same way as they do in the Texel breed. It appears, therefore, that this new kind of mutation, discovered while studying sheep, could contribute significantly to the phenotypic variation observed in many species – among which humans – including the hereditary predisposition to various diseases.
Researchers at ULg have thus produced a database available online that compiles all these mutations (the Patrocles database: http://www.patrocles.org). It will assist researchers around the world in discovering similar phenomena for other phenotypes including hereditary diseases.
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy