Design molecules to mimic or inhibit micro-RNAs like oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes



Control cell growth by upregulation or downregulation of post-transcriptional RNA by interferring with attachment of microRNAs to it.

As well explained on Andre Ventura's video presentation, recently, a new control layer has been discovered, which epigenetically affects the expression of DNA, by attachment of microRNA (small RNA molecule containing about 20-24 nucleotides) to post-transcriptional (messenger) RNA.

Normally, cells have complex mechanism of regulation of cell division. For example, when we have an open wound, cells grow and divide to fix it, and then stop dividing when the wound had healed. It appears this process is regulated by microRNAs, which had been discovered just a few years ago. Some microRNAs accelerate the cell growth ("oncogenes") and some decelerate cell growth ("tumor suppressor genes").

It seems that most cancers are a result of microRNA deregulation (e.g., too much of oncogenes, or too little of tumor suppressor genes).

Luckily, microRNAs are small molecules, and in principle, it should not be hard to design drugs that affect their binding to RNA, or mimic them.

So, the idea explained in Andre Ventura's video, is to design molecules that mimic or interfere with oncogenes or and/or tumor suppressor genes.

The general approach then, would be to sequence the tumor cells, and look, what microRNAs are abundant. Some of the microRNAs that accelerate cell division (and often are abundant in some tumor cells) are known, e.g., oncogene miR-19 (which is highly expressed in lymphomas), or tumor suppressor gene p53.


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