First complete atlas of RNA-binding proteins could point to function of genes linked to diseases

Tuesday 5 June 2012

In one of the most famous faux pas of exploration, Columbus set sail for India and instead ‘discovered’ America. Similarly, when scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, in collaboration with Thomas Preiss from The John Curtin School of Medical Research at The Australian National University and the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, also in Australia, set out to find enzymes – the proteins that carry out chemical reactions inside cells – that bind to RNA, they too found more than they expected: 300 proteins previously unknown to bind to RNA – more than half as many as were already known to do so. The study, recently published online in Cell, could help to explain the role of genes that have been linked to diseases like diabetes and glaucoma.

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