It was discovered a new mechanism that fine-tunes the synthesis of some proteins considered necessary for cell survival. The mechanism involves a new class of RNA which are not coding for any protein, is able to increase the cell specific protein synthesis.
The study, just published in Nature, was coordinated by Prof. Stefano Gustincich SISSA in Trieste and Director of the laboratory of the Armenise-Harvard Foundation, with the help of Elia Stupka of San Raffaele in Milan, the Group of Prof. Stefano Biffo the San Raffaele hospital and the University of Piemonte Orientale and Prof. Claudio Santoro of the Department of Health Sciences, Novara, of the Riken Institute in Yokohama (Japan), at the University of Trieste and the Spaniard Hospitalet de Llobregat.
The study was funded by the European Commission through the seventh framework programme funding for the project “Dopaminet”, from the Armenise-Harvard Foundation and Compagnia di San Paolo.
The activity of these RNA, antisense (AS) defined, depends on their peculiar structure-the SINEB2 responsible for the increase in protein synthesis-and their ability to selectively bind the mRNA coding for a particular protein.
When an RNA in the cell AS he meets his mRNA, protein synthesis encoded by the latter is increased.
This mechanism has been verified in cellular and animal models and it is believed that under certain stress conditions, such as those induced by nutrient deficiency, it is important to promote cell survival.
In a figurative sense and simplified, the cell responds to stress, a situation that can damage DNA, launching two plans: one to check the integrity of your genome (DNA) and to evaluate the possibility of overcoming the situation of stress-free, the other aimed at energy savings which is implemented through the decrease of cellular activities, including the global protein synthesis.
However, the synthesis of certain proteins, including one designed to work (Uchl1), must be preserved and even increased because the cell to survive that much in order to carry out the plans of anti-stress action. It is in this context that fits the mechanism described in the article. No additional expenditure of energy – the production of sense and antisense RNA do not increase – is the synthesis of proteins necessary for cell survival transient.
Beyond purely scientific ones, the study has also highlighted important aspects of application of the new mechanism. For example, in the case of illnesses due to malfunction of one of the two genes that each of us possesses, it may increase levels of proteins affected by specific antisense RNA, thus expanding the scenario of “RNA therapy” began with the discovery of interfering RNA (siRNA). These diseases – spoken by haploinsufficiency – can be both, as certain congenital anemias or some forms of epilepsy or mental retardation, or acquired, such as certain cancers or neurodegenerative diseases.
MolecularLab.it Editorial Office (10/22/2012)
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