Comprehensive new map helps understanding of gene regulation by microRNAs
All the cells in our bodies, be they nerve or kidney cells, blood or skin cells, carry the same genetic information. And yet they all differ considerably. This is because different genes are transcribed in each cell type. In recent years, scientists have found a new class of molecules, so-called “microRNAs,” that play a crucial role in this gene regulation. An enzyme known as Dicer is involved in the formation of these microRNAs. A team of researchers led by Markus Landthaler and Nikolaus Rajewsky at the MDC’s Berlin Institute for Molecular Systems Biology (BIMSB) have recently compiled a comprehensive map of the RNA-binding and processing sites of Dicer, which they published in the journal Cell. Increased understanding of the basic mechanisms governing gene regulation could help in the search for targeted drugs and therapies.