Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Silent RNAs express themselves in ALS disease

Date:
December 2, 2013
Source:
Rockefeller University Press
Summary:
RNA molecules are generally thought to be “silent” when stowed in cytoplasmic granules. But a protein mutated in some ALS patients forms granules that permit translation of stored RNAs. The finding identifies a new mechanism that could contribute to the pathology of the disease.

Mutant Fus granules (red), which are present in some cases of ALS, coincide with sites of protein production (green), indicating that the granules are active sites of RNA translation.
Credit: Yasuda et al., 2013

RNA molecules, used by cells to make proteins, are generally thought to be "silent" when stowed in cytoplasmic granules. But a protein mutated in some ALS patients forms granules that permit translation of stored RNAs, according to a study in The Journal of Cell Biology. The finding identifies a new mechanism that could contribute to the pathology of the disease.

ALS, often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Although the cause of ALS is not completely understood, researchers have been increasingly focused on RNA processing as an important cause of disease symptoms.

RNAs are gregarious, clustering with other RNA molecules and proteins to form RNP (ribonucleoprotein) complexes. RNPs then can gather into larger, more complex structures within the cell called granules. There are several kinds of granules, some that are always present and others that appear under stress, and researchers have generally thought that RNAs in granules are not translated into proteins.

A team of researchers led by Stavroula Mili from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, took a closer look at the functions of a protein called Fus, which is mutated in some ALS patients and causes large RNA granules to form in the patients' cells. The researchers demonstrated that Fus normally promotes the translation of RNA found in RNPs localized in cell protrusions. But abnormal versions of Fus found in ALS patients have broader effects. Cells engineered to produce mutant Fus protein harbor cytoplasmic granules that are similar to those found in the cells of ALS patients. The researchers anticipated that RNAs in the granules would be silent, but they instead discovered that the cells translated several of the RNAs into proteins.

The results suggest a new mechanism that could potentially drive ALS, in which misdirection of RNA translation, rather than RNA silencing, might contribute to disease.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rockefeller University Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Yasuda, K., et al. The RNA-binding protein Fus directs translation of localized mRNAs in APC-RNP granules. J. Cell Biol., December 2013

Cite This Page:

Rockefeller University Press. "Silent RNAs express themselves in ALS disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202121048.htm>.
Rockefeller University Press. (2013, December 2). Silent RNAs express themselves in ALS disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202121048.htm
Rockefeller University Press. "Silent RNAs express themselves in ALS disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202121048.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Three Rare White Tiger Cubs Debut at Zoo

Raw: Three Rare White Tiger Cubs Debut at Zoo

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) The Buenos Aires Zoo debuted a trio of rare white Bengal tiger cubs on Wednesday. (April 16) 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