MicroRNA, King Regulator Of the Genome – How To Harness Its Gene-Controlling Ways

MicroRNA, King Regulator Of the Genome – How To Harness Its Gene-Controlling Ways

Experts are addressing the amazing capabilities of MicroRNA, which is the master regulator of the genome. Check out the latest reports about this below.

How to control genes

The Earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago, and life appeared less than a billion years later. Out of the four major macromolecules that life depends on – DNA, RNA, proteins, and lipids – only RNA is believed to have existed at the beginning of life.

RNA is considered to be the first because it is the only one among the four that can replicate itself and catalyze chemical reactions, which are essential for life.

Both DNA and RNA are made from individual nucleotides linked into chains. The central dogma of molecular biology states that genetic information flows in one direction:

DNA is transcribed into RNA, and RNA is translated into proteins. However, there are deviations from this principle, as some RNAs are never translated or coded into proteins.

Short stretches of genetic material known as microRNAs have caught the attention of researchers due to their potential to treat various diseases, including cancer.

Scientists consider microRNAs as master regulators of the genome because they can bind to and modify the expression of many protein-coding RNAs.

A single microRNA can regulate anywhere from 10 to 100 protein-coding RNAs, and instead of translating DNA to proteins, they can bind to protein-coding RNAs to silence genes.

MicroRNA regulation

MicroRNAs can regulate a diverse pool of RNAs because they can bind to target RNAs that don’t perfectly match up with them. As a result, a single microRNA can often regulate a pool of targets that are all involved in similar processes in the cell, leading to an enhanced response.

Dysfunctional microRNAs can contribute to disease because one microRNA can regulate multiple genes.

In 2002, the role of dysfunctional microRNAs in disease was first identified in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a type of blood and bone marrow cancer.

It was found that the loss of two microRNAs normally involved in blocking tumor cell growth was responsible for this cancer.

Since then, scientists have discovered over 2,000 microRNAs in humans, many of which are altered in various diseases. The field now has a good understanding of how microRNA dysfunction contributes to disease.

Altering one microRNA can change several other genes, which can collectively reshape the cell’s physiology. For instance, over 50% of all cancers have significantly reduced activity in a microRNA called miR-34a.

Losing miR-34a can increase the risk of developing cancer because it regulates many genes that prevent the growth and migration of cancer cells. Scientists are currently investigating the use of microRNAs to treat cancer, heart disease, neurodegenerative disease, and other illnesses.

Rada Mateescu

Passionate about freedom, truth, humanity, and subjects from the science and health-related areas, Rada has been blogging for about ten years, and at Health Thoroughfare, she's covering the latest news on these niches.

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