News
18/9/2014

IMIM: Parts of the genome without a known function may play a key role in the birth of new proteins

IMIM: Parts of the genome without a known function may play a key role in the birth of new proteins


News from IMIM


Researchers in Biomedical Informatics at IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute) and at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) have recently published a study in eLife showing that RNA called non-coding (IncRNA) plays an important role in the evolution of new proteins, some of which could have important cell functions yet to be discovered.

Ribosomes produce proteins from the instructions found in an RNA molecule. However, only 2% of the human genome is RNA containing information for the synthesis of proteins, meaning it is coding. Other parts of the genome that are transcribed could be “evolutionary noise”, parts of the DNA that are copied to RNA randomly but with no concrete biological function. Now, a new sequencing technique has revealed that many of these transcripts (IncRNAs) may also translate into proteins, leading to an intense debate.

“We have confirmed that in all six species that were studied –human beings, mice, fish, flies, yeast and a plant– many of the IncRNAs were associated to ribosomes and seemed to be ready to translate RNA into proteins. This suggests that they could act as a repository for the synthesis of new proteins” explains Mar Albà, a professor at ICREA and the coordinator for the research group on Evolutionary Genomics at IMIM.

More information:
IMIM news

Reference:
Long non-coding RNAs as a source of new peptides”. Jorge Ruiz-Orera (Fundación IMIM), Xavier Messeguer (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya), Juan Antonio Subirana (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya), and M. Mar Alba (Fundacion IMIM and ICREA). Tracking no: 29-05-2014-RA-eLife-03523R1