Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Look Into Components Of RNA Silencing Machinery

Date:
July 29, 2004
Source:
Texas A&M University
Summary:
Up to 95 percent of a person's DNA is believed to be junk DNA. In order to prevent these relics of evolution from rearranging chromosomes and causing disease, natural mechanisms exist to silence them, according to contemporary theories of chromosome biology.

COLLEGE STATION, July 27, 2004 - Up to 95 percent of a person's DNA is believed to be junk DNA. In order to prevent these relics of evolution from rearranging chromosomes and causing disease, natural mechanisms exist to silence them, according to contemporary theories of chromosome biology.

Related Articles


The RNA silencing machinery silences gene expression, by destroying RNA, a molecule that carries out DNA's instructions. Two years ago, components of the RNA silencing machinery were shown to be absolutely required for forming heterochromatin, a chromatin state that silences DNA, suggesting a new rule in biology. But researchers from Texas A&M University and the University of Oregon disagree.

They broke that rule in reporting their findings in the current issue of Science magazine. Funding for the research is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Knowledge gained from their research will enable scientists to better understand the complexities of chromosome biology, which ultimately will lead to conquering disease by the means of gene therapy, says Rodolfo Aramayo, associate professor of biology at Texas A&M University, who specializes in genetics and studies the biology of meiotic chromosomes. Since the majority of birth defects are caused by chromosomal abnormalities, he says it is absolutely fundamental to understand how chromosomes work.

"Understanding normal chromosome biology is more than a curious scientific endeavor," says Aramayo. "It is a must if we ever are to conquer disease."

In a study with Neurospora crassa, a mold, Aramayo and his colleagues created mutant cells that cannot produce any key components of the RNA silencing mechanism, and discovered that heterochromatin formed just fine.

"Think about a chromosome as being a highway," says Aramayo. "In order to function properly, some sections of the highway must have illumination, which means DNA must be expressed, whereas other sections must not have illumination, which means DNA must not be expressed, or that the region must be heterochromatic.

"Some soldiers carry the duty of turning off certain lights along the highway. Everybody thought these soldiers belong to the RNA silencing machinery, as the rule says. But what our research has shown is that, when we killed these RNA silencing machinery soldiers, someone else is still turning the lights off! We don't know who did it, but we're on our way to find out."

"What we have shown," Aramayo says, "is that cells have evolved more than one way to do the same thing. And this is important, because similar mechanisms might be present in human cells."

In regard to the growing knowledge base in understanding chromosome biology for doing gene therapy, Aramayo says, "Without understanding how chromosomes work, we will never be able to perform gene therapy. Hopefully in the future, we are going to be able to correct genetic mistakes by introducing genes and help people overcome these problems."

Aramayo adds, "Even though we are doing basic research, the implications for society in general are broad."

Other coauthors of the Science magazine article are postdoctoral fellow Dong W. Lee, graduate student Robert J. Pratt of Texas A&M, professor of biology Eric U. Selker, postdoctoral fellows Michael Freitag and Gregory O. Kothe of the University of Oregon.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Texas A&M University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Texas A&M University. "Researchers Look Into Components Of RNA Silencing Machinery." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 July 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/07/040728085552.htm>.
Texas A&M University. (2004, July 29). Researchers Look Into Components Of RNA Silencing Machinery. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/07/040728085552.htm
Texas A&M University. "Researchers Look Into Components Of RNA Silencing Machinery." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/07/040728085552.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins