Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fun Fact: MicroRNA Regulatory Networks as Drug Targets

In a recent study from the University of Columbia Medical Center, researchers have found a hidden connection between microRNAs and gene expression in mammalian cells that could help explain genetic variability in diseases such as cancer. MicroRNA are small fragments of RNA that regulate protein transcription by binding to complimentary sequences in mRNA strands. Investigating glioblastomas and genes linked to the tumor suppressor gene PTEN, a microRNA regulatory network was found that was disrupted in patients whose PTEN gene was intact, but not expressed. These findings, published in the article An Extensive MicroRNA-Mediated Network of RNA-RNA Interactions Regulates Established Oncogenic Pathways in Glioblastoma, reveal a new area for drug development and cancer treatment.

An Extensive MicroRNA-Mediated Network of RNA-RNA Interactions Regulates Established Oncogenic Pathways in GlioblastomaSumazin, Pavel; Yang, Xuerui; Chiu, Hua-Sheng; Chung, Wei-Jen; Iyer, Archana; Llobet-Navas, David; Rajbhandari, Presha; Bansal, Mukesh; Guarnieri, Paolo; Silva, Jose; Califano, AndreaCell doi:10.1016/j.cell.2011.09.041 (volume 147 issue 2 pp.370 - 381)

Similarly, Dr. Stephanie Greene from the Baylor College of Medicine proposed to use BMG LABTECH’s SPECTROstar Nano to investigate two clusters of microRNAs and their role in cardiac tissue development. Her findings could also lead to new areas of cardiac drug development.

"These studies are based on the hypothesis that aberrant expression of a microRNA-X (miR-X) cluster may result in cellular defects. Two major goals of this research: (1) Analyze the effect of aberrant miR-X expression on a cellular level, (2) Identify novel targets of miR-X relevant to development. The authors propose to analyze proliferation quantitatively using the SPECTROstar Nano. In addition, MTT assays in 96 well plates can be combined with OD readings to get endpoint readings. In complementary studies, the level of apoptosis is proposed to be studied in the miR-X mutants using ELISA-based apoptosis assays in the SPECTROstar Nano." For more information see:

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