Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
RNAi
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Two-Way Traffic Enables Proteins to Get Where Needed, Avoid Disease

Published: Friday, November 29, 2013
Last Updated: Friday, November 29, 2013
Bookmark and Share
It turns out that your messenger RNA may catch more than one ride to get where it’s going.

Scientists have found that mRNA may travel one way down a cell, then board another, aptly named motor protein, and head in the opposite direction to get where it ultimately needs to be.

It’s a pretty important journey, because mRNA determines which proteins a cell expresses, differentiating a brain cell from, say, a muscle cell, said Dr. Graydon B. Gonsalvez, cell biologist at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University.

“It used to be thought there was a relatively simple scenario where if a cargo needs to go here, it gets on one track and it goes that way,” said Gonsalvez, corresponding author of the study in the journal PLOS ONE.

But like a motorist on a backed-up interstate, scientists at MCG and the University of Cambridge, have found that mRNA needs the flexibility to maneuver around potentially numerous obstacles in its path to ultimately arrive at the right spot.

“The ability to reverse their tracks is important to their ability to eventually get where they need to go,” Gonsalvez said. And location is really everything, because the proteins need to be expressed in a specific location to function correctly.

While too much misdirection is incompatible with life, a little is OK and maybe even normal. But at levels in between, the health consequences can include Alzheimer’s, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and Fragile X syndrome, which can produce mild to severe intellectual deficits as well as physical characteristics such as flat feet and an elongated face. “Most human diseases come from not a loss of a process, but a compromise to the process,” Gonsalvez said.

The scientists suspected the bidirectional ability because they could see the two motor proteins that would head in opposite directions parked side-by-side in the cell. When they removed the then-idle motor that could go in the opposite direction, delivery, or localization, of the cargo mRNA already en-route was compromised.

“What we have seen is that there are many things that can reverse that track,” Gonsalvez said. “If they can only go in one direction, they can bump into something, like a stray organelle, and get stuck.”

Motor proteins have long been known to haul mRNA up and down the cell’s cytoskeleton, which essentially functions as an internal roadway for the cell. Gonsalvez recently received a $1.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to fill in other important knowledge gaps about the journey, like how the motor proteins know which mRNA to transport, because not all mRNA needs to be localized.

He likens the routing system to a ZIP code and thinks proteins are again key, but in this case, they are bound to the mRNA, flagging it for travel. “Something is telling the cell that this message is different,” he said.

In the case of Fragile X syndrome, for example, he suspects that one or more proteins that should be bound to mRNA are missing so the cell can’t tell the messenger it needs to be moved.

Another question Gonsalvez wants to answer is how mRNA holds on for the ride since the motor protein won’t bind with it directly.

“These are not easy questions but the thought is once we understand the answers, we will understand why, when you have a defect in this process, you have a disease pathology,” Gonsalvez said.

He notes that transportation of mRNA occurs lifelong, since proteins have a limited life and are constantly being replaced.

His research model is the comparatively simple fruit fly in which the technology is available to selectively knock out motor proteins in specific cells. His published research was funded by the and the NIH.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,900+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,300+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.


Scientific News
Cancer Genetics: Key to Diagnosis, Therapy
When applied judiciously, cancer genetics directs caregivers to the right drug at the right time, while sparing patients of unnecessary or harmful treatments.
Transporting Microscopic Cargo Between Human Cells
Scientists have developed a virus-inspired delivery system for material transport between cells.
Improving Drug Production with Computer Model
A model has been developed that can be used to improve and accelerate the production of biotherapeutics, cancer drugs, and vaccines.
Turning Off Asthma Attacks
Researchers discover a critical cellular “off” switch for the inflammatory immune response that causes asthma attacks.
New Strategy May Drop Cancer’s Guard
Scientists eye ways to deconstruct tumors’ protective wall with current diabetes drug.
Scientists Identify Unique Genomic Features in Testicular Cancer
The findings may shed light on factors in other cancers that influence their sensitivity to chemotherapy.
Smart Patch Releases Blood Thinners When Needed
Researchers have developed a smart patch that activelly monitors a patient's blood and releases blood thinning drugs when necessary.
First-Ever Capsule to Treat Hemophilia
In the near future, hemophiliacs could be able to treat their disease by simply swallowing a capsule.
Enhancing CRISPR to Explore Further
Researchers have developed sOPTiKO, a more efficient and controllable CRISPR genome editing platform.
New Compound to Reduce Tumor Growth
Researchers at Stanford found that a new cell surface receptor they created is effective at inhibiting cancer growth in mice.
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,900+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,300+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!