RNA Defense System Protects the Genome When it's Epigenetically Naked

News   Jul 03, 2017 | Original story from CSHL

 
RNA Defense System Protects the Genome When it's Epigenetically Naked

A transfer RNA (tRNA) molecule. Fragments of 18 and 22 nucleotides, snipped from a full-length tRNA in the region circled in red, act to defend the genome in embryonic cells in the interval before the young embryo is implanted in the mammalian uterus. The sequences are complementary to, and act to interfere with, a binding site called the PBS in retrotransposons that must be engaged for their activation. About 42% of the human genome consists of parasitic retrotransposon sequences, which epigenetic marks repress except during brief intervals of epigenetic reprogramming. This defense mechanism seems to be analogous to the piRNA defense system that protects the genome in germline cells. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

 

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