“As the flies in our experiment age, we’re able to detect specific patterns of microRNAs — which help to regulate genes — when they are bound to specific proteins,” says Ammar Naqvi, a doctoral student in computational and integrative biology at Rutgers–Camden.
Naqvi, a Philadelphia resident, explains that microRNAs are connected to various developmental stages and disease states, and their proper modulation is required for the integrity and maintenance of cells.
The research is being done under the supervision of Andrey Grigoriev, a professor of biology at Rutgers–Camden, and in collaboration with a research team at the University of Pennsylvania. Computational and bioinformatics analysis for the project is performed at Rutgers–Camden.
In flies, microRNAs are “loaded” onto one of two protein complexes known as Ago1 or Ago2, which then guide it to repress gene expression. The team found that as fruit flies age, more microRNAs accumulate on the Ago2 protein complex, and therefore impact age-associated events in the flies.
“We were able to connect the two processes,” Naqvi says. “Studies have shown that there is some change in the microRNA population with age, but no one was sure how they were partitioned with the protein complexes. We observed such partitioning and also an increase in neurodegeneration, which resulted in a shorter lifespan for these flies.”
Grigoriev explains, “Neurodegeneration and aging go hand-in-hand, but we are the first to have shown the details of this change in regulation with aging. This tells us that there are different mechanisms of regulation in different stages of development. Is aging a byproduct of development? I cannot tell you. It’s possible that this could be relevant for other diseases. That’s what we want to find out.”
The study was recently published in a leading journal in the field, Genes and Development.
Naqvi, who is originally from Long Island, New York, received his bachelor’s degree from Rochester Institute of Technology and his master’s degree from George Mason University. He is the recipient of the prestigious Rutgers Presidential Fellowship, annually awarded to select doctoral students throughout the university to help fund research.
Grigoriev, a Medford resident, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics from the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute in Russia. He received his doctoral degree in molecular biology from the Institute of Genetics and Selection of Industrial Microorganisms in Russia.
Rutgers–Camden’s Center for Computational and Integrative Biology combines science and math to better understand how biological systems work.Ed Moorhouse
Ed Moorhouse | EurekAlert!
Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein
24.01.2017 | Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY
Choreographing the microRNA-target dance
24.01.2017 | UT Southwestern Medical Center
A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.01.2017 | Life Sciences
24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine