CRG researchers discover relationship between RNA and proteins leading to cancer

CRG researchers discover relationship between RNA and proteins leading to cancer

News from CRG

Researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) have shed light on RNA and protein interactions. Specifically, they have been able to establish trends in these interactions that can be linked to diseases like cancer.

The CRG researchers used the catRAPID algorithm to perform large-scale predictions of protein-RNA interactions based on physicochemical principles. They compared their predictions with experimental data and saw an interesting trend. “Protein-RNA pairs with a strong propensity to bind have either correlated or anti-correlated expression patterns in several human tissues”, says Gian Gaetano Tartaglia, the biochemist and proteomics expert who heads up the Gene Function and Evolution Group at the CRG.

In other words, if a protein-RNA pair is prone to interaction, the association can lead to two possible scenarios: function or dysfunction. Whether it is one or the other depends on the relative abundance of the two molecules. “In an anti-correlated pattern, the protein is abundant and the transcript is poorly expressed in all the tissues; if this changes, the interaction gives rise to tumours and cancer”, points out Tartaglia, main author of the paper just published in Genome Biology.

More information:
CRG website

Constitutive patterns of gene expression regulated by RNA-binding proteins. Davide Cirillo, Domenica Marchese, Federico Agostini, Carmen Livi, Teresa Botta-Orfila, Gian Tartaglia; Genome Biology 2014, 15:R13 (9 January 2014)