Non-coding RNA reveals its secrets
Our brain’s capacity to learn and to form memories relies on the ability to respond adaptively to environmental inputs. The integration of these inputs occurs at synapses, the connections between brain cells.
Unlike other cell types in the body, neurons have an elaborate architecture, consisting of axons to transmit and dendrites to receive information. Like all cells, neurons use proteins to carry out their important cellular functions. Neurons supply their processes with proteins by moving mRNA molecules to the dendrites and axons where they can be locally translated.
A mRNA molecule consists of a coding sequence in the middle, which serves as a template for new proteins, and two non-coding regions located on both ends: the 3’ region on the right and 5’ on the left hand side. These so-called untranslated regions (UTRs) control gene expression at the RNA level and are variable in length and composition. By acting as binding platforms, they can regulate stability, trafficking and translation, thus dictating the fate of an mRNA molecule within a cell.
Researchers from the Schuman Lab now sequenced the mRNA present in different regions of rat hippocampal slices and took a closer look at the 3’ UTR region. Schuman: “When we examined mRNA in both neuronal cell bodies and in the neuropil, primarily consisting of axons and dendrites, we noticed a huge diversity in the 3’UTRs of neuronal mRNAs with many transcripts showing enrichment for a particular 3’UTR isoform in a cellular compartment.
In addition, the isoforms enriched in the neuropil proved to be more stable than those located in the cell body.” The scientists were even able to follow the dynamics of these molecules during a period of enhanced neural activity and observed an alteration of 3’UTR isoforms present in each compartment. The Schuman team speculates that some of the changes in the dendritic compartment might be due to local remodeling of 3’UTRs.
Publication: Tushev, G., Glock, C., Heumueller, M., Biever, A., Jovanovic, M. and Schuman, E.M. (2018). Alternative 3’UTRs modify the localization, regulatory potentia l, stability, and plasticity of mRNAs in neuronal compartments. Neuron, in press.
Alle Nachrichten aus der Kategorie: Life Sciences
Articles and reports from the Life Sciences area deal with applied and basic research into modern biology, chemistry and human medicine.
Valuable information can be found on a range of life sciences fields including bacteriology, biochemistry, bionics, bioinformatics, biophysics, biotechnology, genetics, geobotany, human biology, marine biology, microbiology, molecular biology, cellular biology, zoology, bioinorganic chemistry, microchemistry and environmental chemistry.
Grow faster, die sooner: How growth rates influence the fitness of bacteria
“The fitness of bacteria is more complex than expected,” explains Ulrich Gerland, professor for the theory of complex biosystems at the Technical University of…
Spintronics: Researchers show how to make non-magnetic materials magnetic
In solid-state physics, oxide layers only a few nanometres thick are known to form a so-called two-dimensional electron gas. These thin layers, separated from…
Caterpillars of the wax moth love eating plastic: Fraunhofer LBF investigates degradation process
Within the Framework of a research project on the chemical imaging analysis of plastic digestion in caterpillars (RauPE), a team from Fraunhofer LBF used…