Nav: Home

Cell study reveals key mechanism linked to healthy development

March 07, 2019

Scientists have shed light on how healthy cells develop by identifying the role of key molecules involved.

The components, known as R-loops, are formed during cell development and have been shown to play an important role in the process. The latest finding overturns previous thinking that R-loops, formed from the genetic material that makes up DNA, were harmful to cells.

Researchers found that R-loops work together with a group of cell proteins, known as Polycomb, to control genes that are important for development in humans and other mammals.

These genes regulate the fate and function of each cell in the body, for example helping to control whether they become neurons or muscle cells.

Findings from the study by the University of Edinburgh answer fundamental questions about cell biology. They could also inform research into health conditions that can occur when these processes misfire, and point towards new avenues of research towards drug treatments.

Further research could clarify the role of R-loops in diseases in which they are known to be associated. These include neurogenerative disorders such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and the developmental condition Fragile X.

Future studies may include examining R-loops in developing brain cells, with a view to informing the design of drugs to treat these neurological conditions. The findings also have important implications for some cancers, which are associated with faulty Polycomb proteins or the over-production of R-loops.

The study, published in Molecular Cell, was carried out in collaboration between the Max Delbruck Centre for Molecular Medicine in Berlin and the University of Edinburgh, supported by Wellcome and the European Research Council.

Dr Konstantina Skourti-Stathaki, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Biological Sciences, who led the study, said: "This new insight answers fundamental questions, opening new avenues for future research and possible routes towards drug treatments."
-end-


University of Edinburgh

Related Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Articles:

New biomarkers of multiple sclerosis pathogenesis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic debilitating inflammatory disease targeting the brain.
Tarantulas use their lateral eyes to calculate distance
A necessary part of any animal's sense of direction is a positioning system, allowing it to have an idea of the relation between where it is and where it wants to go; this is known as odometry.
Using telemedicine to treat multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) clinicians face continued challenges in optimizing neurological care, especially for people with advanced MS living in medically underserved communities.
Dietary intake and function in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: Are they associated?
Is what you eat associated with better function and respiratory function for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis soon after diagnosis?
How plants grow new lateral roots
Researchers have used 3-D live imaging to observe the formation process of lateral roots in plants, and clarified part of the mechanism that creates new meristematic tissue.
Does having mixed ancestry help protect you from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)?
Could the key to unlocking the secret of motor neurone disease lie in the collaboration between two small island nations, Ireland and Cuba?
An antibody-based drug for multiple sclerosis
Inserm Unit U919, directed by Professor Denis Vivien has developed an antibody with potential therapeutic effects against multiple sclerosis.
Pilot study tests possible diagnostic tools for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
New animal research has shown that measuring copper concentrations and isotope ratios in blood and other tissue may allow early diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS -- also known as Motor Neuron Disease).
Four new risk genes associated with multiple sclerosis discovered
Scientists of the Technical University of Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry have identified four new risk genes that are altered in German patients with multiple sclerosis.
Scientists find genetic cause of multiple sclerosis
Researchers have discovered a rare genetic mutation that makes it probable that a person will develop multiple sclerosis (MS).

Related Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Setbacks
Failure can feel lonely and final. But can we learn from failure, even reframe it, to feel more like a temporary setback? This hour, TED speakers on changing a crushing defeat into a stepping stone. Guests include entrepreneur Leticia Gasca, psychology professor Alison Ledgerwood, astronomer Phil Plait, former professional athlete Charly Haversat, and UPS training manager Jon Bowers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".