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Rich Carson - Genetic Breakthrough Offers Promise for ME, Fibromyalgia

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by Wayne, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Ashland, Oregon
    I have a strong interest in epigenetics, and think the following article by Rich Carson from the ProHealth website is excellent. It's primarily about epigentics, epigenes, and their role in genetic expression. I believe much of this ties in closely with the importance of methylation which I believe is heavily connected to epigenetics and gene expression.

    October 24, 2012 - by Rich Carson

    Genetic Breakthrough Offers Promise for ME, Fibromyalgia

    Here's one of the opening paragraphs in this article:
     
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  2. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

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    Yes I found this very exciting too Wayne - junk DNA turns out to be the important switches. Hope this breakthrough research carries on rapidly now - more time needed to map this "switchboard" I understand.
     
  3. Kina

    Kina

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    There is a link to a video about epigenetics on the page Wayne linked to that is quite informative and funny. I find the area of epigenetics to be quite interesting. There is so much about the human body yet to be learned.
     
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  4. SpecialK82

    SpecialK82 Ohio, USA

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    Very cool, thanks for posting Wayne. I agree, very exciting times for us.
     
  5. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    I too think epigenetics is important, but I am not sure about the damaged control sequences idea of genes. These regulators are in turn controlled by hormones - autocrine, paracrine and endocrine. We have so many disturbances that it is quite likely these will substantially alter the genes expressed. Damage to the regulatory segments is not required.

    However one way the body controls genes is through methylation. I do wonder what effect methylation problems will have. I do not think this has been adequately researched. We also have lots of oxidative stress, which can damage genes.

    Even if the ultimate cause is nothing to do with the genes, there will still be a disturbance of gene expression. This is a biochemical fingerprint, and can tell us a lot about the physiology of the cell type being examined.

    Bye, Alex
     
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  6. anciendaze

    anciendaze Senior Member

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    I want to point out that there is another way to control genes, apart from methylation and proximity on chromosomes: RNA interference. This is currently used in laboratory models for "knockdown" of genes instead of breeding "knockout" mice in which the gene is defective. (The latter may not always be possible, and can be very time consuming.) It turns out that nature was way ahead of us.

    There is a protein (and gene) called Dicer. The name comes from its activity, which is to chop RNA strands into short pieces, typically 20-25 nucleotides long, one type of microRNA. Dicer plays many roles in biology, but I've noted its use by researchers in pathogen discovery in a number of very different organisms. It comes into play when cellular machinery detects a pathological process inside a cell. (This part is a long way from fully understood.) It is found active in many cancers and infectious diseases. It is very well suited for control of parasitic DNA either in the form of inserted provirus or as DNA episomes inside the nuclear membrane. Because it operates on mRNA from either source of genetic information, or on RNA not derived from cellular genes, as in RNA viruses, it is a general purpose tool to block pathological processes.

    The trick, in the case of viral sequences, is that this short interfering RNA, siRNA, pairs with parts of longer sequences expressing the complete gene, and jams the transcription machinery for translation of RNA into proteins. This is an example of post-transcriptional gene silencing. The gene is transcribed into RNA, but stopped from producing anything else. When a virus floods a cell with its own RNA this is an excellent strategy for silencing a gene which is hard to locate. The virus itself has given Dicer plenty of material to work with.

    This is what I believe is going on in many cases of chronic infectious disease. This response has great potential to identify a pathological process the body is just barely keeping under control. Identification of miRNA associated with a pathological process can lead us to a cause which is blocked from full expression, precisely the problem in many chronic diseases.
     
  7. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Many small RNA products do affect gene control, but I have considered them another type of autocrine hormone. However in looking this up recently I discovered a new term: intracrine. Its autocrine hormones that bind to nuclear receptors. Furthermore they have modified the definition, it appears that intracrine hormones are considered proteins, though I think most nucleus binding hormones are probably RNA and this seems to have been missed in the definition.

    Protein synthesis jamming is new to me, though not surprising. There are so many layers of control and regulation in the cellular machinery and we are only just beginning to figure them out. If the RNA can accumulate because protein synthesis is jammed, specific RNA concentration will rise until its balanced by degradation processes. This in itself is likely to have an impact, though I have not thought much about what that might be.

    Bye, Alex
     

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