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Maria Do Carmo Fonseca Facione Critical Thinking

A compreensão do programa do genoma humano requer o conhecimento de como a informação codificada pelo DNA é processada originando RNAs mensageiro que pode por translação formar proteínas, os blocos que quando agrupados formam os diferentes tecidos do corpo. Na célula, as modificações extensivas e o processamento alternativo dos produtos iniciais da transcrição dos genes podem afetar profundamente a diversidade e a função das proteínas que são originadas através de um único gene.

O nosso laboratório está interessado em identificar os mecanismos responsáveis pela biogénese do RNAm para compreender melhor as doenças originadas por erros que afetam estes processos. Através de uma abordagem multidisciplinar que combina microscopia de células in vivo, modelação computacional, biologia molecular, bioquímica e bioinformática, o nosso grupo desenvolve conhecimento especializado para estudar como é que as propriedades dinâmicas dos complexos de RNA-proteína contribuem para a regulação pós-transcripcional do gene.

Researchers at Instituto de Medicina Molecular (iMM) João Lobo Antunes have found that manipulating a single RNA molecule is enough to revert cellular ageing.

Throughout time all cells age gradually, contributing to the development of several diseases. Inducing cellular regeneration is one of the strategies used to fight diseases associated with cellular ageing. However, aged cells tend to be highly resistant to any type of manipulation intended to induce regeneration.

Ribonucleic acid, or RNA, is responsible for protein synthesis inside cells. However, a specific type of molecule named non-coding RNA is never translated into protein. In fact, since the mapping of the human genome in 2001 it is known that only about 2% is actually translated into proteins.

Now, the team led by Bruno de Jesus and Maria do Carmo-Fonseca, used a genetically modified mouse model to study cellular ageing and regeneration. They found that cells derived from the skin of old mice produced higher amounts of a long non-coding RNA molecule named Zeb2-NAT when compared to cells from young mice. By reducing the amount of this specific RNA molecule, it was possible to efficiently regenerate old cells.

“These results are an important step to be able to regenerate diseased tissues in older people,” said Bruno de Jesus.

This article has been republished from materials provided by IMM. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

Reference:

Jesus, B. B., Marinho, S. P., Barros, S., Sousa-Franco, A., Alves-Vale, C., Carvalho, T., & Carmo-Fonseca, M. (2018). Silencing of the lncRNA Zeb2-NAT facilitates reprogramming of aged fibroblasts and safeguards stem cell pluripotency. Nature Communications, 9(1). doi:10.1038/s41467-017-01921-6

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