Neurite outgrowth assay of neurons expressing GFP. The first and last time...
Neurite outgrowth assay of neurons expressing GFP. The first and last time point (0 min, 50 min) are pseudocolored in magenta and cyan, respectively.

Quelle: Busskamp Lab CRTD

Dying neurons

Decoding the regulation of cell survival

An interdisciplinary and international research group led by Dr. Volker Busskamp from the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden at the TU Dresden (CRTD) has decoded the regulatory impact on neuronal survival of a small non-coding RNA molecule, so-called miRNA, at the highest resolution to date.

This deciphering of gene regulation primes applications for strengthening neurons in order to protect them from neurodegenerative diseases. The extensive systems biology methods used here could become a new standard for the way miRNAs are researched.        

miRNAs were first discovered 25 years ago, but understanding their impact on gene regulation of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) is still incomplete. While computer-based studies predict the maximum range of miRNA interactions, some of which can bind thousands of mRNAs, experimental studies usually provide only one or very few. The research team discovered that, contrary to previous assumptions, brain-enriched miRNA (miR-124) is unnecessary during neuronal differentiation from adult human stem cells, but has a huge effect on neuronal survival.

Photo
Dr Volker Busskamp
Source: CRTD

The team combined both experimental and computational approaches and performed an in-depth system level analysis of miR-124. They found 98 miR-124 targeted genes that are simultaneously regulated. Many of these controlled genes had direct physiological functions, in particular protecting neurons from dying. The research group used a novel computational approach to also investigate indirect effects, namely the miR-124 targeted genes that themselves are regulators of gene expression.

“Our deep mechanistic insights may lead to biomedical applications enabling the protection of neurons against degeneration. In addition, previously uncharacterised genes in the regulatory networks could be investigated and new functions assigned to them”, says Volker Busskamp. The interdisciplinary approach of experimental manipulation and sophisticated bioinformatic analysis sets new standards in the miRNA gene regulation research. 

Source: Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden at the TU Dresden 

04.10.2018

More on the subject:
Read all latest stories

Related articles

Photo

Zooming in

Breast cancer map reveals how mutations shape the tumour landscape

Scientists have created one of the most detailed maps of breast cancer ever achieved, revealing how genetic changes shape the physical tumour landscape. An international team of scientists, brought…

Photo

Updating treatments

Sugar and fat can make cancer cells harder to kill

In their quest to find new and better methods to make cancer cells more susceptible to treatment, Karin Lindkvist and her research group at Lund University in Sweden are looking into the world of…

Photo

"Immune escape"

Cancer camouflage: how our immune system is duped

T cells play a huge role in our immune system's fight against modified cells in the body that can develop into cancer. Phagocytes and B cells identify changes in these cells and activate the T cells,…

Related products

Eppendorf – Mastercycler nexus X2

Research Use Only (RUO)

Eppendorf – Mastercycler nexus X2

Eppendorf AG
Sarstedt – Cell Culture Products

Specialties

Sarstedt – Cell Culture Products

SARSTEDT AG & CO. KG
Sarstedt – Low DNA Binding Micro Tubes

Research Use Only (RUO)

Sarstedt – Low DNA Binding Micro Tubes

SARSTEDT AG & CO. KG
Shimadzu – CLAM-2030

Research Use Only (RUO)

Shimadzu – CLAM-2030

Shimadzu Europa GmbH