Israeli researchers discover new RNA type
(Xinhua) 10:27, March 17, 2021
File Photo via Bar Ilan University (BIU)
JERUSALEM, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Israeli researchers have discovered a new type of RNA, Bar Ilan University (BIU) in central Israel said on Tuesday.
The rare RNA type was detected in trypanosomes, which are single-cell parasites that cause major diseases such as sleeping sickness and cutaneous leishmaniasis, affecting millions of people worldwide.
These parasites are transmitted to mammals by the blood-sucking tsetse fly, transferred via saliva.
The findings may lead to the development of novel RNA-based medications to treat and prevent the spread of diseases caused by trypanosomes, said the researchers.
In a study, published in the journal iScience, BIU researchers identified a non-coding RNA (ncRNA) molecule that regulates protein translation in the parasite.
Such ncRNA molecules control mRNA (messenger RNA) function and determine whether mRNA molecules survive or degrade, and whether they are translated into proteins.
"We were able to elucidate ncRNA in such a way that we could learn about the molecules with which they interact and regulate," the researchers said.
This finding in one species may also be common to the entire family of parasites and may even exist in other organisms, the researchers said.
"RNA therapy will be useful in the future for many diseases, including infectious diseases, since it can be used to interfere with their regulatory function," they concluded.