Team reveals miR-29 as regulator of processes for normal brain maturation

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Researchers have shown that miR-29 can control brain maturation in mammals, presenting a target for autism, epilepsy and other conditions.
Team reveals miR-29 as regulator of processes for normal brain maturation

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Posted: 7 April 2021 | Victoria Rees (Drug Target Review) |



A team has discovered that a molecule called microRNA-29 (miR-29) is a powerful controller of brain maturation in mammals. The researchers, led by scientists at the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine, US, say that deleting miR-29 in mice caused problems very similar to those seen in autism, epilepsy and other neurodevelopmental conditions.

According to the team, the findings illuminate an important process in the normal maturation of the brain and point to the possibility that disrupting this process could contribute to multiple human brain diseases.

"We think abnormalities in miR-29 activity are likely to be a common theme in neurodevelopmental disorders and even in ordinary behavioural differences in individuals," said senior author Professor Mohanish Deshmukh. "Our work suggests that boosting levels of miR-29, perhaps even by delivering it directly, could lead to a therapeutic strategy for neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism."

Each microRNAs (miRNAs) can bind directly to an RNA transcript from certain other genes, preventing it from being translated into a protein. MiRNAs thus effectively serve as inhibitors of gene activity and the typical miRNA regulates multiple genes in this way so that genetic information is not overexpressed.

The researchers from the study investigated miRNAs involved in the maturation of…
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