Determining mRNA Survival

Researchers uncover a self-destruct mechanism that determines the lifespan of messenger RNA molecules.

By | December 23, 2011

Tom Ellenberger" > Wikimedia Commons, Tom Ellenberger

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, TOM ELLENBERGER

Observing single molecules in yeast cells in real time, researchers have discovered that the promoter regions of two genes involved in the cell cycle not only act to encourage transcription; they also initiate a self-destruct timer that controls when the resulting messenger RNA (mRNA) molecules are degraded. The results, published today (December 22) in Cell, provide some of the first clues regarding how cells manage their mRNA levels, and could have implications for controlling cell division in cancer.

“Our findings indicate that genes making proteins whose levels must be carefully controlled contain promoter regions that sentence their mRNA molecules to death even as the mRNA is being born,” senior author Robert Singer of the Gruss Lipper Biophotonics Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University said in a press release. “Their lifespans are determined at the moment of their birth.”

Specifically, the promoter regions of SWI5 and CLB2—both genes critical for regulating the cell cycle—recruit a protein called Dbf2p to jump onto the mRNAs during transcription. In the cytoplasm, another protein, called Dbf20p, joins Dbf2p, essentially tagging the mRNA for destruction.

Due to SWI5 and CLB2’s involvement in the cell cycle, the results could be relevant for developing anti-cancer therapeutics, Singer said. “Once you gain insight into the mechanisms controlling the cell cycle and cell division, you can propose targeted therapies for regulating the uncontrolled cell division that characterizes cancer.”

Add a Comment

Avatar of: You

You

Processing...
Processing...

Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo

Comments

Avatar of: Bruce Dogg

Bruce Dogg

Posts: 5

January 2, 2012

Makes you wonder if this may also have a roll to play in human longevity in general. Working out how and why cells die in general or making them replicate perfectly is probably one of the most important human goals of the next century.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

January 2, 2012

Makes you wonder if this may also have a roll to play in human longevity in general. Working out how and why cells die in general or making them replicate perfectly is probably one of the most important human goals of the next century.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

January 2, 2012

Makes you wonder if this may also have a roll to play in human longevity in general. Working out how and why cells die in general or making them replicate perfectly is probably one of the most important human goals of the next century.

Popular Now

  1. How Gaining and Losing Weight Affects the Body
    Daily News How Gaining and Losing Weight Affects the Body

    Millions of measurements from 23 people who consumed extra calories every day for a month reveal changes in proteins, metabolites, and gut microbiota that accompany shifts in body mass.

  2. That Other CRISPR Patent Dispute
    Daily News That Other CRISPR Patent Dispute

    The Broad Institute and Rockefeller University disagree over which scientists should be named as inventors on certain patents involving the gene-editing technology.

  3. Neurons Use Virus-Like Proteins to Transmit Information
  4. EPO Revokes Broad’s CRISPR Patent
    The Nutshell EPO Revokes Broad’s CRISPR Patent

    Shortly after ruling out the earliest priority dates on a foundational patent for CRISPR gene-editing technology, the European Patent Office rescinded the patent entirely—and more are likely to follow.

AAAS