SEP 21, 2022 1:00 PM PDT

Mutation Correction Machinery from Moss Transplanted to Human Cells

WRITTEN BY: Ryan Vingum

Protein creation is essential to the normal function of healthy cells. Proteins help communicate key information to various parts of the cell. All proteins are formed from DNA, or the general blueprint the cell uses to create proteins. In order to create proteins from the DNA, RNA is produced. In this context, RNA functions as a copy of the DNA that can be used to help the cell function.

In certain land plants, in particular, DNA is stored in three locations: the nucleus, mitochondria, and chloroplasts. The process of creating RNA from DNA, however, is not perfect. Inevitably, mistakes do occur, leading to the incorrect production of proteins (or no production of them at all). In fact, mutations can accumulate in the DNA itself over time, leading to the incorrect production of RNA. So what do plants do?

The moss Physcomitrium patens, specifically, has an editing strategy to help clean up these mutations, though the editing takes place in each individual strand of RNA that’s produced. So rather than editing the master copy (DNA), the moss edits each copy (RNA). Researchers speculate that this may have been an evolutionary response as plants moved from sea to land.

With a particular focus on how this moss edits RNA, a team of researchers at the University of Bonn have harnessed the RNA editing processes of Physcomitrium patens and transplanted them into human cells. Their work is described in a recent article published in Nucleic Acids Research

Specifically, the team transplanted the editing processes into kidney and cancer cells, and found that this machinery also worked in human cells, but with some of its own quirks. For example, certain editing processes located exclusively in the mitochondria of the moss’ cells impacted RNA transcript in human cell nuclei. In fact, the editing machinery impacts about 900 different targets in the human cell, compared to two targets in the moss cells.

At this point, it’s still impossible to detect where these editing mechanisms will strike next. 

So what does all this mean? 

Given how many targets these editing mechanisms can affect in human cells, there’s a need to better study these mechanisms and better understand how they work. Doing so could help researchers use these editing processes more precisely, potentially even leading towards treatment for certain hereditary diseases. 

Sources: Science Daily; Nucleic Acids Research

About the Author
Professional Writing
Science writer and editor, with a focus on simplifying complex information about health, medicine, technology, and clinical drug development for a general audience.
You May Also Like
SEP 22, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
What are the side effects associated with CBD
SEP 22, 2022
What are the side effects associated with CBD
CBD has long been touted for its healing and soothing qualities. But what about its side effects, if any?
SEP 29, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
What are dab rigs, and how do they work?
SEP 29, 2022
What are dab rigs, and how do they work?
There are now more ways to consume cannabis than ever before. What is a dab rig?
OCT 31, 2022
Plants & Animals
Innovative Insecticides Adversely Affect Bee Health
OCT 31, 2022
Innovative Insecticides Adversely Affect Bee Health
Insecticides and pesticides have been developed for years to help protect agricultural products and improve crop outputs ...
NOV 07, 2022
Health & Medicine
The aye-aye might be weirder than we originally thought
NOV 07, 2022
The aye-aye might be weirder than we originally thought
New research finds that the aye-aye is one of 12 primates who picks their nose.
NOV 21, 2022
Earth & The Environment
Fish bones push evidence of human cooking back 600,000 years
NOV 21, 2022
Fish bones push evidence of human cooking back 600,000 years
A hallmarking characteristic of being human is cooking food, and new research pushes back the origins of cooking by 600, ...
NOV 29, 2022
Plants & Animals
Mediterranean Green Diet is Healthier than Regular Mediterranean Diet
NOV 29, 2022
Mediterranean Green Diet is Healthier than Regular Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet has long been heralded as a key medical intervention for a range of health conditions, including ...
Loading Comments...