Search Results for: lnc braveheart

Cardiac development needs more than protein-coding genes


by Anne Trafton – from MIT News

Biologists find that long non-coding RNA molecules are necessary to regulate differentiation of embryonic stem cells into cardiac cells.

When the human genome was sequenced, biologists were surprised to find that very little of the genome — less than 3 percent — corresponds to protein-coding genes. What, they wondered, was all the rest of that DNA doing?

It turns out that much of it codes for genetic snippets known as long non-coding RNAs, or lncRNAs. In recent years, scientists have found that these molecules often help to regulate which genes get turned on or off inside a cell. However, little is known about the specific roles of the thousands of lncRNAs discovered so far.

In a new study, MIT biologists have identified a critical role for a lncRNA they dubbed “Braveheart.” This lncRNA appears to stimulate stem cells to transform into heart cells during mouse embryonic stem cell (ESC) differentiation; the researchers suspect that lncRNAs may control this process in humans as well. If so, learning more about lncRNAs could offer a new approach to developing regenerative drugs for patients whose hearts have been damaged by cardiovascular disease or aging.

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