Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Non-specific, specific RNA binding proteins found to be fundamentally similar

Date:
October 8, 2013
Source:
Case Western Reserve University
Summary:
Researchers have found unexpected similarities between proteins that were thought to be fundamentally different. The team published a new study showing that non-specific proteins actually have the ability to be specific about where they bind to RNA – seeking out and binding with particular sequences of nucleotides.

Researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have found unexpected similarities between proteins that were thought to be fundamentally different.

The team studied how proteins bind to RNA, a process required for gene expression. It is known that some proteins only bind RNAs with certain sequences. Other proteins have been deemed "non-specific" because they interact with RNAs at seemingly random places. But the Case Western Reserve team has published a new study in Nature showing that non-specific proteins actually do have the ability to be specific about where they bind to RNA -- seeking out and binding with particular sequences of nucleotides.

"There seems to be no such thing as specific or non-specific proteins; in essence, they are all specific. But they use their specificity differently," said Eckhard Jankowsky, PhD, co-senior author and professor in the Center for RNA Molecular Biology at the School of Medicine. "Our findings advance understanding of how proteins and nucleic acids control gene expression, which leads to insights into how this control is lost or altered in cancer, viral infections and other diseases."

The Case Western Reserve research team developed a new method for measuring proteins binding to thousands of different RNA molecules, called High Throughput Sequencing Kinetics (HITS-KIN). Applicable to many biologic fields, the approach allows researchers to analyze large numbers of mutations at protein binding sites in DNA or RNA quickly. HITS-KIN allows scientists to complete experiments in days that previously would have taken years to finish.

"By combining traditional biochemical methods with next-generation sequencing technology, we can now do one experiment with thousands of different RNAs, while before we were limited to analyzing only one RNA molecule at a time," said Michael E. Harris, PhD, co-senior author and associate professor of biochemistry at the School of Medicine.

Defects in the interactions between RNA and binding proteins underlie numerous human diseases including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. This insight into how molecules interact is a critical step toward the development of novel strategies for treating human disease.

"The Case Western Reserve researchers' new findings may suggest ways to design drugs targeting a whole class of proteins that bind to DNA and RNA at sites lacking specific recognition sequences, which would guide them into place. Previously, we didn't understand how these proteins recognized where to bind to DNA or RNA, which hampered the design of drugs targeting that activity," said Oleg Barski, PhD, of the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which partially funded the research. "The research also shows that next-generation sequencing technology can deepen our understanding of these proteins and how they control the inner workings of cells."

Jankowsky and Harris utilized HITS-KIN to analyze how weakly or tightly large numbers of different RNAs bind to a particular protein. Although non-specific proteins were predicted to bind to all RNA sequences with similar affinity, the researchers found the same broad range of binding affinities for the non-specific protein that typically appear for a specific protein.

The authors theorize that the two types of proteins may not differ fundamentally, but rather use different parts of their affinity spectrum in order to express genes correctly. While specific proteins can connect with their preferred sequences among a cell's many RNA molecules, the preferred RNA sequences of non-specific proteins are not created by the cell. As a result, non-specific proteins are left to bind to the available RNAs with similar affinity for many different RNAs.

"Essentially, each protein has binding preferences. However, the non-specific proteins can bind only to those sequences that are made available to them, whereas the specific proteins are able to bind to their 'first choice' sequences," added Jankowsky.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Case Western Reserve University. The original article was written by Jessica Studeny. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ulf-Peter Guenther, Lindsay E. Yandek, Courtney N. Niland, Frank E. Campbell, David Anderson, Vernon E. Anderson, Michael E. Harris, Eckhard Jankowsky. Hidden specificity in an apparently nonspecific RNA-binding protein. Nature, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nature12543

Cite This Page:

Case Western Reserve University. "Non-specific, specific RNA binding proteins found to be fundamentally similar." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131008112412.htm>.
Case Western Reserve University. (2013, October 8). Non-specific, specific RNA binding proteins found to be fundamentally similar. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131008112412.htm
Case Western Reserve University. "Non-specific, specific RNA binding proteins found to be fundamentally similar." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131008112412.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple has delayed the launch of the HealthKit app platform, citing a bug. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Haitians receive the second dose of the vaccine against cholera as part of the UN's vaccination campaign. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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