Feb 21, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

ADAR1's New Function Discovered By Scientists: Protein Could Protect Stressed Cells From Death

Apr 28, 2017 12:59 AM EDT

A recent study suggests that the RNA editing protein ADAR1 stops cells from dying after they were exposed to various stressors like the ultraviolet radiation. This is a new addition of ADAR1's function for the proteins.

In a study that was previously published in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology titled "ADAR1 controls apoptosis of stressed cells by inhibiting Staufen1-mediated mRNA decay," a form of the ADAR1 protein called ADAR1p110 regulates the response of cells to certain stressors like ultraviolet radiation by protecting them from ceasing to exist because of a process called apoptosis. Apoptosis is a form of programmed cell death.

Phys.org has explained that the ADAR1 protein has two forms: the ADAR1p110 and the ADAR1p150. Scientists already know several biological functions for the ADAR1p150 but only little is known about the role of ADAR1p110.

"Before we started this work, we knew very little about the function of ADAR1p110 in vivo," Kazuko Nishikura, the senior author of this study about ADAR1, said. Nishikura also serves as a professor specializing in the Gene Expression and Regulation Program at the Winstar Institute.

"We knew that it could edit RNA, a polymeric molecule key for decoding the genetic material in a cell, but we did not know if this was important for its biological function," she added. Nishikura also expressed his surprise to find that the ADAR1p110 has an important biological role as the protein that would response to any stressors.

"Now that we have a well-defined function for ADAR1p110, we can work to understand its role in postnatal development and disease, in particular, cancer,"  she said. Other authors of this study are Masayuki Sakurai, Yusuke Shiromoto, Hiromitsu Ota, Chunzi Song, Andrew Kossenkov, Jayamanna Wickramasinghe, Louise C Showe, Emmanuel Skordalakes, Hsin-Yao Tang, David  Speicher

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