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Small Molecule, Big Impact: Exploring MicroRNA

SMALL MOLECULE, BIG IMPACT: EXPLORING MicroRNA MICRORNA, A SMALL NON-CODING RNA FOUND IN ANIMALS, PLANTS, AND OTHER ORGANISMS, PLAYS A BIG ROLE IN OUR CELL PROCESSES. BUT THIS LITTLE MOLECULE WASN'T GIVEN MUCH CONSIDERATION UNTIL RECENTLY. FIND OUT WHY SCIENTISTS ARE PUTTING MICRORNA IN THE SPOTLIGHT OF TODAY'S RESEARCH LABS. LET'S GET BACK TO BIOLOGY BASICS ALL FORMS OF LIFE THERE ARE 3 ESSENTIAL (ORGANISMS), FROM THE MACROMOLECULES THAT TINIEST BACTERIA TO THE WORK TOGETHER IN OUR MOST ENORMOUS BLUE CELLS TO MAKE THESE WHALE, DEPEND ON VITAL PROCESSES HAPPEN. SELF-SUSTAINING WITHOUT THEM, ALL LIFE BIOLOGICAL PROCESSES WOULD CEASE TO EXIST! TO LIVE. THE 3 ESSENTIAL MACROMOLECULES DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) RNA (ribonucleic acid) Protein Amino acids are strung together in specific shapes to create millions of different protein molecules, all of which serve different purposes in our biological processes, like growing new skin cells or digesting lunch. DNA is a long double-stranded molecule comprised of millions of smaller molecules called nucleotides, RNA is a multifunctional molecule with which are strung together to create the codes (or genes) that tell our cells what to do. The nucleus of each of our cells contains 46 DNA molecules. many biological roles, including coding and decoding DNA's instructions, and regulating and expressing those codes (genes). There are many types of RNA that take part in these roles. HOW THE 3 MACROMOLECULES MAKE LIFE HAPPEN nucleus mitochondrian centrosome nucleolus - vacuole cytoplasm. smooth ER rough ER Golgi apparatus- -ribosomes 3 DNA, which lives in the cell's nucleus, contains codes (aka genes) that tell amino acids how to line up and create specific protein shapes to do certain jobs. This process happens outside the nucleus, in an amino-acid making organelle called the ribosome. But DNA is stuck inside the nucleus. What's a molecule to do? To help DNA interact with amino acids, chemicals inside the nucleus make a Then, the MRNA makes its way into the partial copy of the DNA, called messenger RNA (MRNA). Unlike DNA, an MRNA molecule is small enough to fit through a pore and travel out of the nucleus. cytoplasm and toward the ribosome. The ribosome creates a chain of amino acids based on the encoded instructions. This amino acid string begins to fold in on itself and create a specific protein shape. The protein then goes on to fulfill a biological purpose. IN SUMMARY: DNA CREATES RNA • RNA CREATES PROTEIN PROTEIN CREATES LIFE. BUT WAIT! AS IMPORTANT AS PROTEIN IS TO OUR LIFE PROCESSES, ONLY -2% OF HUMAN DNA CONTAINS CODES THAT TELL OUR CELLS TO MAKE PROTEIN. THAT MEANS ONLY -2% OF RNA IS PROTEIN-CODING RNA. WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER 98 PERCENT? PROTEIN-CODING RNA VS. NON-CODING RNA REMEMBER, THERE ARE MANY TYPES OF RNA. THEY CAN BE DIVIDED INTO TWO MAIN CATEGORIES: Protein-coding RNA (~2% of human genome) • • Non-coding RNA (-98% of human genome) Messenger RNA (MRNA) is the RNA responsible for protein synthesis-the process described above. Non-coding RNAS (ncRNAs) don't tell our cells to make protein but are still involved in many cellular processes. --- • Until recently, scientists only knew of a few types of ncRNAs and assumed most of that -98% was "junk" or "dark matter" that didn't do much of anything. • Data from a project called ENCODE by the National Human Genome Research Institute has revealed that, actually, -80% of our DNA is biochemically active. This means that 80%, not 2%, of our DNA DOES do something! • The number of ncRNAS within the human genome is still unknown, BUT scientists have found thousands in recent years-a breakthrough discovery! ONE OF THE ncRNAS DISCOVERED IS CALLED microRNA. THE DISCOVERY OF microRNA MicroRNA (MİRNA) WAS DISCOVERED IN A NEMATODE BY A TEAM OF SCIENTISTS IN 1993. IT WASN'T UNTIL 2000 THAT MIRNAS WERE DETECTED IN HUMANS. WHAT ARE MicroRNAs? MicroRNAS ARE A CLASS OF SMALL NON-CODING RNAS MOSTLY FOUND IN Animals (like you) Plants Some viruses MicroRNAS ARE TINY MOLECULES-ONLY ABOUT 19-25 NUCLEOTIDES IN LENGTH (REMEMBER, A STRAND OF DNA IS MILLIONS OF NUCLEOTIDES LONG!) MICRORNAS ARE ABUNDANT IN OUR CELLS AND ARE POWERFUL REGULATORS OF MANY CELLULAR PROCESSES. WHAT DO MicroRNAs DO? A SINGLE microRNA MOLECULE CAN CONTROL THE EXPRESSION OF MANY GENES THAT ARE INSTRUMENTAL IN NORMAL CELL FUNCTION. A gene is a section of DNA that codes A single strand of The human genome More than 2,000 MIRNAS have been It is believed that miRNAS DNA holds contains about regulate the expression of thousands of genes for a protein (discussed above) 20,000-30,000 identified in the about 1/3 of all human human genome genes-and almost every cellular process! genes HOW DOES MicroRNA REGULATE GENE EXPRESSION? Each miRNA expressed in a cell can target and regulate 100 to 200 mRNAs. MicroRNA functions by pairing with targeted, complimentary sequences of messenger RNA and then regulating the function of that mRNA. - 60% of human protein-coding genes are regulated by miRNAs. In the process, miRNA creates finely-tuned biological pathways that help it carry out important cellular processes. But sometimes these pathways can get off course, which is called dysregulation. DYSREGULATION OF MicroRNA AND DISEASE RESEARCH TODAY, RESEARCHERS USE MICROARRAY ANALYSIS AND DEEP-SEQUENCING APPROACHES TO STUDY THE DYSREGULATION OF MIRNAS. • Cancer Dysregulation of the expression of microRNA genes contributes to the development of most-or maybe even all human diseases, including > Neurological diseases • Age-related diseases > Immune system » Heart disease disorders WHILE HUMAN DISEASES AREN'T A GOOD THING, THE FACT THAT SCIENTISTS HAVE DISCOVERED THE IMPLICATIONS OF MİRNA DYSREGULATION MEANS THAT MIRNA THERAPIES FOR THESE DISEASES ARE CURRENTLY BEING RESEARCHED AND THAT IS A GOOD THING. WITHIN 15 YEARS OF RESEARCH, WE HAVE GONE FROM DISCOVERING THE EXISTENCE OF MIRNAS IN HUMANS TO FINDING THE VITAL ROLE MANY miRNAS PLAY IN OUR CELLULAR PROCESSES TO EXPLORING THEIR THERAPEUTIC APPLICATIONS IN NUMEROUS DISEASES. Brought to you by Cell Biolabs | CELL BIOLABS, INC. Creating Solutions for Life Science Research Sources DNA,_RNA_and_proteins:_The_three_essential _macromolecules_of_life

Small Molecule, Big Impact: Exploring MicroRNA

shared by cellbiolabs on Feb 03
MicroRNA, a small non-coding RNA found in animals, plants, and other organisms, plays a big role in our cell processes. But this little molecule wasn't given much consideration until recently. Find ou...



dna biology


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