Microbeans use RNA as a useful tool to regulate their genes. Small snippets of RNA can fine-tune how much protein is produced from several varieties of genes, and many small RNAs can shut genes off altogether. Dicer is also of interest because mutations in the gene may help to fight human cancers, although it hasn''t been established properly.
Researchers from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory ProfessorRob Martienssen discovered the Dicer role in mammalian cells in a new study published February 22, 2022.
When Martienssens removed Dicer from yeast cells, the cells became sick.Chromosomesinside dividing cells couldnt properly align themselves for equal distribution to daughter cells. Cell division slowed, and many cells died. Dicer stabilized the mouse genome in much the same way it maintains the genome in yeast, indicating that this is an evolutionarily ancient role for the enzyme.
The new function that we have identified for Dicer genome stability independently of other well-known small RNA pathways may be a clue to why Dicer mutations are an important factor in certain types of cancer, according to Benjamin Roche, a researcher at Martienssens.
Dicer performs with a gene-activating protein called BRD4. The researchers discovered that when Dicer was broken and BRD4 was intact, chromosomes were unstable. Similar to Dicer, BRD4 is often mutated in human cancers. Martienssen claims that inhibitions that target BRD4 bromodomain 2 may have therapeutic effects. This research suggests a new diagnostic and treatment strategy for cancers with BRD4-targeted medications.