Study shows first signs of cross-talk between RNA surveillance and silencing systems

phys.org | 2/28/2019 | Staff
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A recent study by a team of scientists in Korea reveals new findings about how various systems involved in cellular surveillance interact. This research is the first to identify a "cross-talk" molecule between these systems. Because these pathways are involved in fighting toxic cellular or foreign substances, the study has various potential applications in antiviral development, gene therapy, and agriculture.

The central dogma of molecular biology describes how, in a cell, the double-stranded DNA is transcribed into a single-stranded molecule called RNA, which is ultimately translated into protein. But, this process is not foolproof, and occasionally, it produces RNA or protein molecules containing errors, which can cause harm to the cell. To protect themselves from these potentially harmful molecules, as well as from foreign viral RNA, cells have developed complex surveillance systems to identify and degrade aberrant RNAs and proteins. For example, the RNA quality control (RQC) system targets the cell's own error-containing RNAs, while post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) primarily targets foreign RNAs (such as those of invading viruses) by "silencing" their genes. Similarly, a separate cellular system handles protein quality control. To maintain a proper balance of cellular processes, these surveillance systems must be tightly regulated. For example, as both RQC and PTGS target RNAs, when one process is suppressed, the other gets activated. But, exactly how the systems interact has so far remained a mystery.

Study - Nature - Plants - Scientists - Daegu

In a new study published in Nature Plants, scientists at the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology, Korea, led by Prof June M. Kwak, uncovered a new link between the pathways involved in RNA degradation. Talking about the motivation for their research, Prof Kwak says, "We wanted to investigate novel mechanisms controlling gene silencing by small...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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