The gene — known as MeXis — was previously believed to sit under the umbrella of "selfish" genes, or those thought to be functionless because they fail to produce proteins.
But the new study shows that MeXis does not need to produce proteins to be useful. Instead, it makes molecules known as long-coding RNAs (IncRNAs).
These IncRNAs regulate the expression of a protein that removes cholesterol from the arteries.
High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease.
In the new study, Dr. Sallam and colleagues discovered how the MeXis gene helps to remove excess cholesterol from the arteries, potentially opening the door to a new strategy for heart disease prevention.
With their new study — which was conducted using mice — the researchers sought to learn more about the molecular events that play a role in atherosclerosis.
They identified MeXis as a key player; plaque accumulation in the blood vessels of rodents without the gene was almost double that of mice with normal levels of MeXis.
Upon further investigation, the team found that MeXis activates the expression of a protein called Abca1 through the production of IncRNAs. The role of Abca1 is to remove excess cholesterol from the blood vessels.
What is more, the findings may open the door to other genes that play a role in heart health.
In future research, the team plans to find out more about the mechanisms of MeXis, how its activity can be modified, and whether it could hold up as a target for heart disease prevention.
"The idea that lncRNAs are directly involved in very common ailments such as plaque buildup within arteries offers new ways of thinking about how to treat and diagnose heart disease." Dr. Tamer Sallam
"There is likely a good reason why genes that make RNAs rather than proteins exist," Dr. Sallam continues. "A key question for us moving forward is how they may be involved in health and disease."
HelloDox is one-stop solution for all your health care needs. In here, you can connect to your doctor, consult online audio/video/chat consultations, do near by clinic visit. You can get preventive health check-up from top NABL accredited labs pan India at lowest price. You can also upload prescriptions which is reviewed by our doctor panel and get it done in-time at minimum price. At HelloDox our mission is to provide best healthcare services at lowest price to all our citizens.
- Survey No. 152-4/1A, Behind Krishna Petrol Pump, Near
Hinjewadi Hospital, Hinjewadi Pune - 411057, India.
Your session timed out.
Please refresh to continue!