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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 6:03 EDT

Latest Argonaute Stories

2013-06-06 20:02:51

Structural and molecular differences between human Argonaute proteins reveal essential elements for RNA-slicing Human Argonautes (hAgo), are key proteins involved in a process known as RNA interference. RNAi, as it is often called, is a mechanism that cells use to regulate gene expression. Human Argonaute-2 (hAgo2) is known as "slicer" for its unique ability among the 4 human Argonaute proteins to directly cut messenger RNA -- which carries the information coded in genomic DNA to make a...

2012-06-27 14:24:19

Epigenetic memory may pass RNA silencing from 1 generation to the next Organisms employ a fascinating array of strategies to identify and restrain invasive pieces of foreign DNA, such as those introduced by viruses. For example, many viruses produce double-stranded (ds)RNA during their life cycle and the RNA interference (RNAi) mechanism is thought to recognize this structural feature to initiate a silencing response. Now, UMass Medical School researchers have identified a mechanism...

2012-06-21 23:41:05

Researchers at the Whitehead Institute and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center have defined and analyzed the crystal structure of a yeast Argonaute protein bound to RNA. This complex plays a key role in the RNA interference (RNAi) pathway that silences gene expression. Describing the molecular structure of a eukaryotic Argonaute protein has been a goal of the RNAi field for close to a decade. "You can learn a lot from biochemical experiments, but to more fully understand a protein like...

2012-02-02 19:00:39

Small RNA-based nucleic acid drugs represent a promising new class of therapeutic agents for silencing abnormal or overactive disease-causing genes, and researchers have discovered new mechanisms by which RNA drugs can control gene activity. A comprehensive review article in Nucleic Acid Therapeutics, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., details these advances. Short strands of nucleic acids, called small RNAs, can be used for targeted gene silencing, making them...

2011-05-16 17:37:19

Research on controlling the stem cells of plants could eventually lead to learning how to make them produce more fruit, seed and leaves, according to Dr. Xiuren Zhang, Texas AgriLife Research scientist and professor with the Texas A&M University department of biochemistry and biophysics. Results of a nearly three-year project led by an AgriLife Research team headed by Zhang was published in Cell, one of the most cited scientific peer-review journals in the world. "Working with the shoot...

2010-05-27 07:50:00

In a major cancer-research breakthrough, researchers at the McGill University, Department of Biochemistry have discovered that a small segment of a protein that interacts with RNA can control the normal expression of genes "“ including those that are active in cancer. The research, published online on May 26, 2010 by the prestigious journal Nature, has important immediate applications for laboratory research and is another step toward the kind of individualized cancer therapies...

2010-02-01 18:05:45

Johns Hopkins scientists believe they may have figured out how genetic snippets called microRNAs are able to shut down the production of some proteins. The issue, they say, is important because the more scientists know about how genes "” the blueprints for proteins "” are regulated, the more likely they are to figure out how to use that information in treating or preventing diseases linked to such regulation, including cancer. In both computer and test-tube studies using fruit-fly...

2010-01-11 07:36:49

Regulating protein levels is key to biomedical research in humans and model organisms MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are non-coding RNAs that impact almost every aspect of biology. In recent years, they have been strongly implicated in stem cell biology, tissue and organism development, as well as human conditions ranging from mental disorders to cancer. For the most part, miRNAs control gene expression of messenger RNA (mRNA) targets. Unlike mRNAs, which are translated into proteins, miRNAs function as...

2010-01-04 13:19:53

A team of scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has determined a hierarchical set of criteria that explain how the molecular precursors of gene-regulating small RNAs are sorted by the cellular machinery. Led by Benjamin Czech, a group working in the laboratory of CSHL Professor Gregory Hannon posed the question: can distinct patterns be observed in the process that unfolds when double-stranded RNAs enter the RNAi pathway? Shorthand for RNA interference, RNAi is a biological...

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2009-10-13 09:14:18

Berkeley Researchers Get First Look at Gene-Silencing Human RISC-Loading Complex The molecular architecture of a protein complex that helps determine the fate of human cells has been imaged for the first time by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Known as a human RISC-loading complex, this structure consists of snippets of ribonucleic acid (RNA) that control whether genetic messages are silenced or expressed. From these new...