RNA, a fragile molecule, acts as a go-between that carries genetic code copied from DNA into protein-making factories in the cell, where the code is translated to form the various tiny components that, together, make us who we are.
“But RNA is no longer merely seen as a passive intermediate conduit,” says biochemist Brenda Janice Sánchez of the KAUST Smart-Health Initiative. “It acts as a regulatory checkpoint, essential to the normal function of all biological processes.”
This means that various aspects of the cellular machinery need to work together to prevent these messenger RNAs from degrading— and to keep them moving— and ultimately ensure their translation at their final destination into protein. If any part of this process is disturbed, protein synthesis will be significantly affected, leading to abnormal cell behavior or even death.
Now, Janice Sánchez and her colleagues at KAUST and McGill University in Canada have identified a protein complex that is crucial for messenger RNA stability during muscle-fiber formation. The complex is formed of two proteins: human antigen R (HuR) and Y-Box binding protein 1 (YB1).
RNA is no longer merely seen as a passive intermediate conduit,”
The precise roles of each individual protein in this stabilization process remain to be discovered. But further research that picks apart the details of how it all works could help scientists influence the amount and types of proteins made in muscle as well as in other tissues at any given time.
“What if we could promote HuR association to YB1 during muscle recovery therapy?” considers Janice Sánchez. “Could this lead to more or better muscle fibers? Learning how to control RNA turnover during muscle-fiber formation could have immense repercussions in the development of novel therapeutics that prevent muscle-related pathologies. (PB/Newswise)