Researchers publish study on neuronal RNA targeting

Sep 07, 2011

SUNY Downstate scientist Ilham Muslimov, MD, PhD, along with senior author Henri Tiedge, PhD, professor of physiology and pharmacology and of neurology, published a study suggesting that cellular dysregulation associated with certain neurodegenerative disorders may result from molecular competition in neuronal RNA transport pathways.

The paper appeared in the , titled, "Spatial Code Recognition in Neuronal RNA Targeting: Role of RNA-hnRNP A2 Interactions." The article was highlighted in an accompanying editorial, "RNA Targeting Gets Competitive."

Dr. Tiedge notes, "In contrast to DNA, in which information coding is one-dimensional (i.e. linear), RNA can encode information in three-dimensional architectural motifs. Dr. Muslimov has now identified RNA motifs that act as spatial codes in , directing RNA to dendrites and synapses." A synapse is a junction that allows a neuron (nerve cell) to pass an electrical or to another cell, and are the branched processes of neurons that act to conduct electrochemical stimulation to the neuronal cell body.

He adds, "Just like number 7 on a New York subway train is a code for the destination 'Times Square,' Dr. Muslimov's RNA motifs are codes for the dendrite and synapse destinations. They make sure RNAs are delivered to cellular sites where they are supposed to operate."

"Sometimes, an RNA may express an inappropriately high number of targeting motifs, with the result that the resources of the transport system become overwhelmed. It is as if too many passengers are trying to enter trains at the same time, exceeding system capacity. We have congestion, and transport is disrupted."

Dr. Tiedge explains that Dr. Muslimov's work indicates that in nerve cells, excessive competition for common transport resources may result in compromised dendritic delivery of RNA. "In the example Dr. Muslimov studied, the culprit is an RNA that contains the genetic information for the fragile X mental retardation protein. Once the number of motifs structures in this RNA exceeds a threshold (usually around 55), the RNA becomes excessively competitive and begins to commandeer, at the expense of other RNAs, common resources of the cellular transport system."

"Dr. Muslimov's data raise the possibility that the resulting neurodegenerative disease, the fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome, is precipitated by a neuronal transport problem," Dr. Tiedge concludes.

Explore further: Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

Provided by SUNY Downstate Medical Center

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Human cells can copy not only DNA, but also RNA

Aug 10, 2010

Single-molecule sequencing technology has detected and quantified novel small RNAs in human cells that represent entirely new classes of the gene-translating molecules, confirming a long-held but unproven hypothesis that ...

RNA on the move

Nov 26, 2009

In the fruit fly Drosophila, oskar mRNA, which is involved in defining the animal’s body axes, is produced in the nuclei of nurse cells neighbouring the oocyte, and must be transported to the oocyte and ...

Recommended for you

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Researchers develop new model of cellular movement

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —Cell movement plays an important role in a host of biological functions from embryonic development to repairing wounded tissue. It also enables cancer cells to break free from their sites of ...

For resetting circadian rhythms, neural cooperation is key

Apr 17, 2014

Fruit flies are pretty predictable when it comes to scheduling their days, with peaks of activity at dawn and dusk and rest times in between. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Cell Reports on April 17th h ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...