MicroRNA mediates gene-diet interaction related to obesity

Eating more n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, commonly known as omega-3 fatty acids, may help carriers of a genetic variant on the perilipin 4 (PLIN4) gene locus lose weight more efficiently.

Led by Jose M. Ordovas, PhD, director of the Nutrition and Genomics Laboratory at the USDA HNRCA, researchers genotyped seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), also known as gene variants, from men and women of mostly white European ancestry enrolled in the Genetics of Lipid Lowering Drugs and Diet Network (GOLDN) study and the Framingham Offspring Study. Carriers of the gene variant tended to weigh more and exhibit higher body mass index (BMI), which would increase their risk of becoming obese. Yet carriers with higher omega-3 fatty acid intakes tended to weigh less than carriers who consumed little or no omega-3 fatty acids. Continue reading “MicroRNA mediates gene-diet interaction related to obesity”

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Researchers make first direct observation of 3-D molecule folding in real time

All the crucial proteins in our bodies must fold into complex shapes to do their jobs. These snarled molecules grip other molecules to move them around, to speed up important chemical reactions or to grab onto our genes, turning them “on” and “off” to affect which proteins our cells make.
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Programming Biomolecular Self-Assembly Pathways

Nature knows how to make proteins and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) dance to assemble and sustain life. Inspired by this proof of principle, researchers at the California Institute of Technology have demonstrated that it is possible to program the pathways by which DNA strands self-assemble and disassemble, and hence to control the dynamic function of the molecules as they traverse these pathways.

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Bioengineers Devise ‘Dimmer Swith’ To Regulate Gene Expression In Mammal Cells

Three Boston University biomedical engineers have created a genetic dimmer switch that can be used to turn on, shut off, or partially activate a gene’s function. Professor James Collins, Professor Charles Cantor and doctoral candidate Tara Deans invented the switch, which can be tuned to produce large or small quantities of protein, or none at all

This switch helps advance the field of synthetic biology, which rests on the premise that complex biological systems can be built by arranging components or standard parts, as an electrician would to build an electric light switch. Much work in the field to date uses bacteria or yeast, but the Boston University team used more complex mammalian cells, from hamsters and mice. The switch has several new design features that extend possible applications into areas from basic research to gene therapy.

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Mechanism of microRNAs deciphered

Over 30% of our genes are under the control of small molecules called microRNAs. They prevent specific genes from being turned into protein and regulate many crucial processes like cell division and development, but how they do so has remained unclear. Now researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) have developed a new method that uncovered the mode of action of microRNAs in a test tube. The study, which is published in the current online issue of Nature, reveals that microRNAs block the initiation of translation, the earliest step in the process that turns genetic information stored on messenger RNAs into proteins.
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Scientists identify critical gene factor in heart development

Researchers at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease (GICD) announced they have identified a critical genetic factor in the control of many aspects of heart form and function. As reported in the journal Cell, scientists in the lab of Deepak Srivastava, MD, have successfully deleted a genetic factor, called a microRNA, in animal models to understand the role it plays in cardiovascular differentiation and development.
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Scientists discover new class of RNA

The last few years have been very good to ribonucleic acid (RNA). Decades after DNA took biology by storm, RNA was considered little more than a link in a chain–no doubt a necessary link, but one that, by itself, had little to offer. But with the discoveries of RNA interference and microRNAs, this meager molecule has been catapulted to stardom as a major player in genomic activity.

Now, a team of scientists led by David Bartel, a professor in MIT’s Department of Biology, has discovered an entirely new class of RNA molecules.

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