Meet 5 RNA ‘movers and shakers’ including one that may protect against Alzheimer’s

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4-10-2019 rna
MicroRNA. Image: Nobeastsofierce/Science Photo Library

RNAs, composed of strings of genetic letters called nucleotides, are best known for ferrying instructions from the genes in our DNA to ribosomes, the machines in cells that build proteins. But in the last decade or so, researchers have realized just how much more RNAs can do — how much they control, even. …

Here are five examples among the many noncoding RNAs that are now recognized as movers and shakers in the human body, for good and ill.

lncRNAs

Foiling cancer treatment

Researchers are just beginning to understand how these lncRNAs influence cancer and other diseases…

MicroRNAs

Sparking a tumor’s spread

[T]hey play an outsized role in heart disease, arthritis and many other ailments. These pipsqueaks can also lead to nerve pain and itchiness.

Related article:  Can CAR-T cell therapy tackle solid tumors too?

Transfer RNA fragments

The virus helpers

tRNA fragments may also boost the body’s susceptibility to a virus.

SINE RNAs

Sacrificing infected cells

Another type of RNA may help protect against infection by certain viruses, including herpesvirus.

piRNAs

Shielding the brain from jumping genes

Autopsies of people who died with Alzheimer’s disease show a buildup of a protein called tau in the brain. That tau accumulation is tied to loss of some guardian RNAs…

Read full, original post: Here are 5 RNAs that are stepping out of DNA’s shadow

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