Andreia Gomes-Duarte, Sebastian Bauer, Morten T. Venø, Braxton A. Norwood, David C. Henshall, Jørgen Kjems, Felix Rosenow, Vamshidhar R. Vangoor and R. Jeroen Pasterkamp1*
FutureNeuro researchers along with colleagues in The Netherlands, Germany and Denmark reported new discoveries on a mysterious form of ribonucleic acid (RNA) that may provide clues about new genetic forces at work in epilepsy. RNA is a versatile molecule that performs critical roles in decoding the information in our DNA to produce the proteins that do useful jobs inside our cells. A number of new forms of RNA have recently emerged that serve supporting roles along the way. This includes microRNA, an existing interest at FutureNeuro, which act to dampen down excess gene activity. The new study was led by Jeroen Pasterkamp’s team in Utrecht who used sequencing data by Jorgen Kjems’ lab in Denmark and samples from a German team’s model of the most common and drug-resistant form of epilepsy. What they discovered was changes to circular forms of RNA. These unusual RNAs were only recently found to exist in the brain. Their role is poorly understood but one job is to counteract the activity of microRNAs. The key finding was that circular RNA levels dramatically rose just as the first signs of epilepsy appeared. This suggests circular RNA may affect the molecular changes in the brain during transition to an enduring state of hyperexcitability sufficient to cause seizures. The results could lead to new diagnostic or therapeutic targets. Will circular RNA run rings around microRNA? We’ll have to wait and see.
See research here