Mum’s miRNA Regulated By Wispy

With the identification of Wispy, scientists are one step closer to understanding how maternal miRNAs regulate early embryonic development.

AsianScientist (Dec. 29, 2014) – Researchers have identified the enzyme involved in the regulation of maternal microRNAs (miRNAs) during the early stages of embryogenesis—a non-canonical poly(A) polymerase called Wispy. Their results have been published in the journal Molecular Cell.

Early development depends heavily on accurate control of maternally inherited mRNAs, and yet it remains unknown how maternal microRNAs are regulated during maternal-to-zygotic transition (MZT). In the present study, researchers verified that maternally inherited miRNAs are highly adenylated at their ends in mature oocytes and early embryos. This maternal miRNA adenylation is extensively conserved in fly, sea urchin and mouse. They also found that the enzyme called Wispy is required to catalyze miRNA adenylation and to reduce miRNA abundance.

Credit: IBS.
Credit: IBS.

“This is the first discovery of an unusual mechanism that can explain how maternal miRNAs are regulated,” explains Professor V. Narry Kim, both the director of the Center for RNA Research at the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) and the professor of the School of Biological Sciences at the Seoul National University.

“Our research provides a clue to help unveil the important biological phenomenon that takes place in the early development stages of the embryo, which has not been explored until now.”

The article can be found at: Lee et al. (2014) Adenylation of Maternally Inherited MicroRNAs by Wispy.


Source: Institute for Basic Science.
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