Nav: Home

Highly sensitive and effective tool measures how your cells grow and divide

July 27, 2016

The improved sequencing tool from the IBS Center for RNA Research reveals dynamic changes of poly(A) tails in eggs and embryos. By revealing the dynamic poly(A) regulation during the translation of RNA into protein, the study furthered our understanding as to how the fabric of life is shaped: from the color of your skin to your hair to how tall you will grow.

In the paper, published in the journal Genes and Development on July 10, the IBS research team, led by the director of the Center for RNA, V Narry KIM, presented mTAIL-seq, a hyper sensitive upgraded tool to measure poly(A) tail length of mRNAs at the genomic scale. By revealing the dynamic poly(A) regulation during the translation of RNA into protein, the study furthered our understanding as to how the fabric of life is shaped: from the color of your skin to your hair to how tall you will grow.

The essential three & the building blocks of life

All life on Earth requires three separate but equally essential biological molecules that serve a critical function in a cell: Proteins, DNA and RNA. Proteins are the workers; they perform diverse catalytic and structural roles within cells. Both DNA and RNA carry genetic information that's inherited from generation to generation. They are the reason why some people have black hair, others blond with blue eyes and others still with green eyes. Central dogma is a biological concept that explains how DNA and RNA interact to produce proteins. Developed in the late 50's, by British molecular biologist Francis Crick, the concept fundamentally outlines the three stages: DNA replicates its information using many enzymes after which DNA's encoded information is transcribed into RNA whereupon a variation of RNA is translated into proteins. During the transcribing process various forms of RNA are synthesized, each has an essential function to help create a template for future construction of protein. Messenger RNA (mRNA) is the architect and instructs transfer RNA (tRNA) and ribosomal RNA (rRNA) on how to correctly assemble amino acids that, when combined into chains, create proteins: the building blocks of all life.

mTAIL-seq: a highly sensitive and cost effective tool to measure poly(A) tail in eggs-to-embryos development

The IBS team focused on oocytes (eggs) in which maternal mRNAs are deposited in a dormant state, yet to be translated into proteins. In early embryos, where transcription is silent, the activation of the dormant mRNAs is vital for the proper production of proteins; thus a deeper understanding of the regulation of maternal mRNAs can reveal how oocytes establish the maternal characteristics of embryos. The key mechanism to controlling maternal mRNAs is the regulation of poly(A) tail: A chain booster that's added to mRNA to increase its stability and promote protein synthesis. Inside an oocyte, long poly(A) tails are added to mRNAs, allowing for them to translate and build proteins; proteins that are required for early embryonic development. The team's upgraded tool, mTAIL-seq, allows enhanced sequencing depth for mRNA at a rate of 1,000 finer than its predecessor. First author, Dr. LIM Jaechul explains further, "We used mTAIL-seq to measure poly(A) length of maternal mRNAs in oocyte-to-embryo development. From the genomic scale analysis, we found global dynamic poly(A) tail regulation without the change of mRNA abundance."

Comparing two indices for one complete picture

Ribosome profiling (RPF) data measures the efficiency of translation, from mRNA to protein, the second step in central dogma. When the RNA team compared the RPF data with data acquired from mTAIL-seq they found a strong coupling between poly(A) tail length and the translational efficiency at early embryo stage. This data, according to the team's manuscript, "suggests that regulation of poly(A) tails in oocytes shapes the maternal characteristics {translatomic landscape} of embryos, thereby directing the onset of animal development."

"The global profiling of poly(A) tails by mTAIL-seq provides a comprehensive resource for the regulation of poly(A) tails in Drosophila {fruit flies} oocyte-to-embryo development and it help us to understand how poly(A) tail of maternal mRNA affect the production of proteins at the beginning of embryonic development," said the first author Dr. Mihye LEE.

Due to the high sensitivity and low cost of mTAIL-seq not to mention its technical robustness and broad accessibility, the team think their invention will be a potent tool to improve understanding of mRNA tailing in diverse biological systems.
-end-


Institute for Basic Science

Related Dna Articles:

Scientists now know what DNA's chaperone looks like
Researchers have discovered the structure of the FACT protein -- a mysterious protein central to the functioning of DNA.
In one direction or the other: That is how DNA is unwound
DNA is like a book, it needs to be opened to be read.
DNA is like everything else: it's not what you have, but how you use it
A new paradigm for reading out genetic information in DNA is described by Dr.
A new spin on DNA
For decades, researchers have chased ways to study biological machines.
From face to DNA: New method aims to improve match between DNA sample and face database
Predicting what someone's face looks like based on a DNA sample remains a hard nut to crack for science.
Self-healing DNA nanostructures
DNA assembled into nanostructures such as tubes and origami-inspired shapes could someday find applications ranging from DNA computers to nanomedicine.
DNA design that anyone can do
Researchers at MIT and Arizona State University have designed a computer program that allows users to translate any free-form drawing into a two-dimensional, nanoscale structure made of DNA.
DNA find
A Queensland University of Technology-led collaboration with University of Adelaide reveals that Australia's pint-sized banded hare-wallaby is the closest living relative of the giant short-faced kangaroos which roamed the continent for millions of years, but died out about 40,000 years ago.
DNA structure impacts rate and accuracy of DNA synthesis
DNA sequences with the potential to form unusual conformations, which are frequently associated with cancer and neurological diseases, can in fact slow down or speed up the DNA synthesis process and cause more or fewer sequencing errors.
Changes in mitochondrial DNA control how nuclear DNA mutations are expressed in cardiomyopathy
Differences in the DNA within the mitochondria, the energy-producing structures within cells, can determine the severity and progression of heart disease caused by a nuclear DNA mutation.
More DNA News and DNA Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Uncharted
There's so much we've yet to explore–from outer space to the deep ocean to our own brains. This hour, Manoush goes on a journey through those uncharted places, led by TED Science Curator David Biello.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#556 The Power of Friendship
It's 2020 and times are tough. Maybe some of us are learning about social distancing the hard way. Maybe we just are all a little anxious. No matter what, we could probably use a friend. But what is a friend, exactly? And why do we need them so much? This week host Bethany Brookshire speaks with Lydia Denworth, author of the new book "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond". This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 2: Every Day is Ignaz Semmelweis Day
It began with a tweet: "EVERY DAY IS IGNAZ SEMMELWEIS DAY." Carl Zimmer – tweet author, acclaimed science writer and friend of the show – tells the story of a mysterious, deadly illness that struck 19th century Vienna, and the ill-fated hero who uncovered its cure ... and gave us our best weapon (so far) against the current global pandemic. This episode was reported and produced with help from Bethel Habte and Latif Nasser. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.