If you are familiar with how deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA works, you will marvel at how complicated and important it is. In its strands are found what inherited characteristics are passed on to the next generation. If it’s not there, then it’s not going to appear in your offspring. What does ‘it’ mean? ‘It’ means things like skin color, height, eye color, and so on. The central idea is that DNA becomes Ribonucleic acid or RNA and ends up being protein.
Transcription is the process by which DNA becomes DNA. On the other hand, the conversion of RNA to protein is called Translation. The RNA is responsible for transmitting the genetic sequence from DNA to proteins. That’s the normal process, until this new discovery appeared. The DNA, RNA, and proteins are referred to as nucleotides.
According to a new research by the University of Utah, this sequence isn’t required in some replication processes involving the DNA and mRNA, to be more specific. A newly discovered protein can do the same function on its own. This protein is called Rqc2. However, this process becomes necessary only when there’s a problem to be fixed; specifically, that’s when Rqc2 will come to the rescue.
Without it, there’s going to be significant damage. Lead author of the study Dr. Peter Shen, PhD, said: “This surprising discovery reflects how incomplete our understanding of biology is. Nature is capable of more than we realize”. About the workflow of Rqc2, researchers said that “Ribosomes malfunction in the delivery of mRNA and Rqc2 has to step in and provide backup instructions to make sure the right things are getting built”.
Assistant professor at the University of California-San Francisco as well as an adjunct professor with the University of Utah, Adam Frost M.D. PhD, one of the senior researchers explained: “In this case, we have a protein playing a role normally filled by mRNA. I love this story because it blurs the lines of what we thought proteins could do”.
Another senior author of the research, Onn Brandman, Ph.D. of Stanford University said, “There are many interesting implications of this work, and none of them would have been possible if we didn’t follow our curiosity. The primary driver of discovery has been exploring what you see, and that’s what we did. There will never be a substitute for that”.
The protein acts like a quality control mechanism, the researchers revealed. When there’s a faulty part, it’s removed from the entire product, repaired, then reattached. When repair is not possible, the faulty part is disposed of properly and exchanged with a perfect functioning replacement part. The researchers have high hopes that this newly discovered protein could help treat several types of abnormalities in the body that has something to do with protein restructuring such as Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease