Researchers at A*STAR’s Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) have uncovered an atypical, long non-coding Ribonucleic acid (RNA), called RMST (LncRNA), which is capable of controlling the birth of neurons, known as neurogenesis.
LncRNA does not produce a protein to handle the gene regulatory process nor is a protein, rather it acts as a direct regulatory mechanism.
Discovery of the key component within a gene regulatory network will help in understanding the role of LncRNA in human neurons, including several neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.
Besides understanding the process of neurogenesis, the discovery of how RMST works within a gene regulatory network will also help in understanding new approaches into its functioning with protein components to regulate biological processes of gene expression.
The new discovery also proves that better understanding of the molecular details of neurogenesis is crucial for developing treatments of serious diseases.
Principal investigator Dr Lawrence Stanton said that the newly discovered class of RNA is capable of unanticipated functional diversity.
"There is now great excitement about the revelation that RNA is more than just a messenger carrying genetic information that encodes for proteins," Stanton said.
"However, systematic functional investigations of exactly what, and how, lncRNAs do in our cells remain scant."