Lost in translation: Researchers discover translator gene may play a role in disease

phys.org | 10/19/2018 | Staff
mel4mel4 (Posted by) Level 4

A molecule called tRNA, or transfer ribonucleic acid, is an essential component of the human genome that acts as a translator. It reads the genetic code and translates it into proteins—one of the key building blocks of the human body.

When researchers and clinicians investigate the genome's relation to disease, they have traditionally focused on mutations in the code for proteins. But now researchers at Western University have shown that the genes encoding tRNAs can also have mutations that cause the code to be misread, and in greater numbers than previously thought.

Think - Translator - App - Phone—if - Errors

Think of it like a translator app on your phone—if it has errors in its software, the output is going to be all wrong, even if the original text is correct.

"This actually changes the way we think about the genetic code," said lead author Mathew Berg, a Ph.D. Candidate at Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. "We have shown that variation in tRNA has the potential to lead to a protein being made improperly, which can lead to misfolding and malfunction of the protein."

Research - Team - Schulich - Medicine - Dentistry

The research team, led by Schulich Medicine & Dentistry Professors Christopher Brandl, Robert Hegele and Patrick O'Donoghue, say this is significant because many human diseases like Alzheimer's disease and diseases of the heart muscle are linked to misfolded proteins.

The work was published online today in the journal RNA Biology.

Variation - Reasons - People - Disease - Others

"Genetic variation is one of the major reasons why some people acquire a disease while others do not and we expect that an individual with 10...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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