Immunity; clever RNA (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Friday, October 12, 2018, 22:04 (247 days ago) @ David Turell

More clever RNA. A noncoding RNA activates immune protein:

"Graeme Conn, the biochemistry professor who oversaw the work, studies how RNA is involved in the body's responses to infections. When a human cell senses a virus, it activates a signaling pathway: a protein called OAS gets turned on and produces a signaling molecule, which in turn activates another protein that both directly defends against the virus as well as activating other parts of the cell's innate immune system.

"As it turns out, human RNA might play an important role in this pathway, specifically a human RNA molecule called nc886. The "nc" stands for "noncoding," which means this RNA molecule is not carrying instructions for building a protein. It's doing something all on its own.

"What it's doing, the new paper shows, is turning on OAS, thus setting off the chain of events that destroys viruses.

"'We saw that (nc886) wasn't just an activator of this pathway, but a very potent activator," said Brenda Calderon, who carried out the research as a graduate student in Conn's lab.

"The nc886 molecule can adopt two different shapes, and one of them is much better at activating OAS than the other. This is another way in which this RNA molecule acts like a protein: its function depends strongly on its 3-D shape and structure. Although nc886 is present in all human cells, it's unknown whether the relative abundance of the immune-activating and less-active form might change in response to infection."

Comment: Another immune pathway which requires a specialized RNA and a series of specific proteins to trigger the response. Specific proteins can only occur by design: Since living organisms must fight infectious organisms, all organisms which appear must have immune abilities on board from the origin their appearance. The theory that they might develop by chance after appearing in life without them is on its face ridiculous.

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