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Thread: Rumours of the demise of RNA world are greatly exaggerated

  1. #1 Rumours of the demise of RNA world are greatly exaggerated 
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    Abstract:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/conten...t/321/5887/411

    Or a more popularised version: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0717140459.htm

    Some bacterial cells can swim, morph into new forms and even become dangerously virulent - all without initial involvement of DNA. Yale University researchers describe July 18 in the journal Science how bacteria accomplish this amazing feat - and in doing so provide a glimpse of what the earliest forms of life on Earth may have looked like.

    To initiate many important functions, bacteria sometimes depend entirely upon ancient forms of RNA, once viewed simply as the chemical intermediary between DNA's instruction manual and the creation of proteins, said Ronald Breaker , the Henry Ford II Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale and senior author of the study.


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    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Breaker's lab solved a decades-old mystery by describing how tiny circular RNA molecules called cyclic di-GMP are able to turn genes on and off. This process determines whether the bacterium swims or stays stationary, and whether it remains solitary or joins with other bacteria to form organic masses called biofilms. For example, in Vibrio cholerae, the bacterium that causes cholera, cyclic di-GMP turns off production of a protein the bacterium needs to attach to human intestines.
    Could this mean there could be some therapeutic uses for this discovery?


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    I've not heard of targeting a di-nucleotide. i would imagine they are used in human physiology too, and thus not be a good target for disease treatment. Perhaps the genes that they affect could be targeted in cholera, although that is such a rapidly progressing disease, and the genes are turned on by the time symptoms are manifest, that I don't know if one could use this pathway in any event.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    A lot of water, sugar, vitamins, and some antibiotics treats cholera just fine anyway. It tends to be self-limiting as long as you don't die of dehydration first.
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  6. #5  
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    Cyclic di-GMP is ubiquitous in bacteria, but it is not used in humans.

    There is a potential for therapeutic uses, but it will take years for something like that to come around. Yes, cholera is fairly easy to treat, however this riboswitch is found in many other types of bacteria so there is the potential to treat other types of infections as well as cholera.
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