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09/25/2019 HYU News > Academics


Professor Nam Jin-woo and Professor Hwang Jeong-wook Develop Technology that Improves the Predictability of Micro RNA Target Genes

Published in [Nature Communications]


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▲Professor Nam Jin-woo(left) and professor Hwang Jeong-wook(right)

Professor Nam Jin-woo from the Department of Life Science and professor Hwang Jeong-wook from the Department of Genetics team developed a technology that enhances the predictability accuracy of micro RNA target genes through investigating a gene control mechanism that is due to micro RNA.

Micro RNA, messenger RNA, etc. are formed through DNA with genetic information. Micro RNA adjusts the proliferation, differentiation(분화), and extinction of cells by decomposing messenger RNA ,which is the cast for creating protein that drives vital phenomenon.

There are around 2,000 varieties of micro RNA, and each one targets hundreds to thousands of messenger RNAs. Therefore, several prediction algorithms are used due to the costs and the time needed to verify target genes respectively through experiments.

Previously, microRNAs were paired with each other based on their complementary sequence information to predict the targeted messengerRNA genes, but it is anticipated that it will be able to narrow down the target by adding information on characteristic sequence information (CUG motif) in the future.

Through superparallel ranking analysis, the professor team identified the new gene control mechanisms in which the quality control protein (UPF1) of messengerRNA and microRNA work together, and named it UMD.
To prevent abnormal proteins from being produced from messengerRNA that did not receive proper information from DNA, it was known that a quality control protein exists to break down the corresponding messenger RNA. However, it was newly discovered that when micro RNA is added, quality control protein is combined into a characteristic part (CUG motif) that is different from the previous one.

The professor team noted the correlation between decomposition by microRNA and decomposition by quality control protein based on the better disassembly by quality control protein if messengerRNA has a microRNA binding site. In effect, it has been found that binding sites of quality control proteins (CUG motifs) are better preserved evolutionally in a microRNA combining site.

Instead of controlling the proteins that are related to the disease or the genes that are passed on to the next generation, adjusting the messengerRNA, which functions as the intermediate product in the process of producing proteins from genes and disappears, seems to have advantages in drug designs.

The achievements of this research, which was carried out with the support of mid-sized research support projects and bio·medical technology development projects by the Ministry of Science and ICT(MSIT)‧ National Research Foundation of Korea were published in the Journal of Nature Communications on September 13th.
▲ UMD decomposition mechanism investigation experiment and a mechanism molecular structure mimetic diagram

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