Biosingularity

Scientists discover new class of RNA

Posted on: January 24, 2007

The last few years have been very good to ribonucleic acid (RNA). Decades after DNA took biology by storm, RNA was considered little more than a link in a chain–no doubt a necessary link, but one that, by itself, had little to offer. But with the discoveries of RNA interference and microRNAs, this meager molecule has been catapulted to stardom as a major player in genomic activity.

Now, a team of scientists led by David Bartel, a professor in MIT’s Department of Biology, has discovered an entirely new class of RNA molecules.

rna-celegans-enlarged.jpg

Reporting in the journal Cell, the team describes identifying more than 5,000 of these new molecules, termed 21U-RNAs, in the C. elegans worm. These new RNAs are named after their distinctive features: Each molecule contains 21 chemical building blocks (or nucleotides), and each begins with the chemical uridine, represented by the letter U (the only RNA nucleotide not also found on DNA). In addition, each of the 5,000 different 21U-RNA molecules comes from one of two chromosomal regions.

Further, “we can predict where additional 21U-RNA genes might reside,” says Bartel, who is also a member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. “Combining these predictions with the 5,000 (21U-RNAs) that we experimentally identified, we suspect that there are more than 12,000 different 21U-RNA genes in the genome.” Because each gene typically produces a unique 21U-RNA, a very large diversity of molecules is made.

“There are so many 21U-RNA genes spread out over such a wide swath of the genome, but they all share common requirements for expression and common structural features,” says Bartel lab Ph.D. student J. Graham Ruby, lead author on the paper.

Although the researchers haven’t yet identified a particular function for these molecules, they believe that this uniform structure strongly indicates an important role.

MIT Institute Professor and Nobel Laureate Phillip Sharp, a biologist who was not part of the research team, supports this hypothesis. The fact that 21U-RNAs share this “common structure and origin suggests an important function,” he says. “It requires function to conserve specificity.”

Source: MIT news release

About these ads

1 Response to "Scientists discover new class of RNA"

Hi my name is Kulwant Singh. I am doing a paper on the recently new class of RNA molecules that have been identified. I would like to know if there is anyway of getting more information that can help me complete this paper. Some of the key factors that I am trying to point out in my paper are the possible roles that it plays in a cell and the impact that it might have on our lives. I would appreciate it if I can get any information.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 936 other followers

Follow me on Twitter

Medical Professional Database Award

 Doctor

Visitors Now

who's online

Blog Stats

  • 1,407,696 hits

Categories

Top Rated

Flickr Photos

Vita nei trulli

Dartmoor Ponies

Triadica sebifera

Happy Hallowen

A field of contrast ..

Hidden Towers

An Evening On An Island

Vietnam. Catedral de Notre Dame. Amor en Saigón. Explore 31 de octubre de 2014

34 Sede de la SGAE A. García Abril Interior pórtico pétreo al jardín 5397

Mt. Tateshina

More Photos

Maps

Networked blogs

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 936 other followers

%d bloggers like this: