Diabetic people are unable to regulate the levels of insulin in their blood effectively, and too much or too little can be fatal. A new study that appears in the 11 Nov 2004 issue of Nature (Vol. 432, No. 7014, pp. 226-230) provides hope for diabetes drug development by showing the power of a class of non-coding RNAs thought to regulate gene expression. These microRNAs do this by repressing the process by which genes are translated into protein products.
Markus Stoffel and his colleagues studied pancreatic endocrine cells and identified a novel microRNA (miR-375) specific to these cells. Over-expression of miR-375 resulted in lower levels of insulin secretion in response to glucose, and inhibition of it brought about the opposite effect. Taking the investigation a step further, the researchers also found that the Myotrophin messenger RNA is the target of miR-375.
According to the International Diabetes Federation, there are currently more than 194 million people suffering from this condition worldwide. The research team believes that because miR-375 acts as a regulator of insulin secretion, it could become a pharmacological target for the treatment of diabetes.
Markus Stoffel (The Rockefeller University, New York, NY, USA)
Tel +1 212 327 8797, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
(C) Nature press release.
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