Scientists are learning more about a type of gene that, unlike other genes, does not code for proteins - the building blocks of life.
The mechanism by which genes for a subset of RNA (lncRNA) interact with neighboring genes to regulate the development and function of essential neurons is revealed in new research led by the University of Bath.
Despite their prevalence over the genes coding for lncRNA in the genome (estimates range from 18,000-60,000 lncRNA genes in the human genome compared to the 20,000 protein-coding genes), Because the information in the It does not result in protein production, these segments of DNA were once crossed out as junk.
However, it is now clear that some lncRNAs are simply garbage, and that they may play an important role in restoring physical function in people who have suffered severe neurological damage.
Although the function of most lncRNA genes is unknown, a subset is co-expressed in the brain with neighboring genes encoding proteins involved in gene regulation. In other words, the genes of lncRNAs and their protein-coding neighbors act as a pair. They work together to control the growth and function of essential neurons, particularly in the brain during embryonic development and early life.
The new research explains the regulatory pathway that regulates the expression of one of these gene pairs. Their number and location in the genome, as well as the timing of their activity, must be carefully coordinated.
Dr. explains. Keith Vance, lead author of the study from the University of Bath's Department of Biology and Biochemistry.
"This new study adds to our understanding of the basic biology of neurons and how they are produced." The goal is regenerative medicine, and we hope to gain a better understanding of how lncRNA genes function in the brain through additional research."
The study was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and was published today in the journal PLOS Genetics.
Reference: Ioanna Pavlaki, Michael Shapiro, Giuseppina Pisignano, Stephanie M. E. Jones, Jelena Telenius, Silvia Muñoz-Descalzo, Robert J. Williams, Jim R. Hughes, Keith W. Vance. Chromatin interaction maps identify Wnt responsive cis-regulatory elements coordinating Paupar-Pax6 expression in neuronal cells. PLOS Genetics, 2022; 18 (6): e1010230 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1010230