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In Scientific First, Researchers Visualize Naturally Occurring mRNA




 In a technique that could eventually shed light on how gene expression influences human disease, scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have for the first time ever successfully visualized single molecules of naturally-occurring messenger RNA (mRNA) transcribed in living mammalian cellsThe scientific achievement is detailed in the January 16 online edition of Nature Methods.

Gene expression involves transcribing a gene's DNA into molecules of mRNA. These molecules then migrate from a cell's nucleus into the cytoplasm, where they serve as blueprints for protein construction.

Robert Singer, Ph.D., codirector of the Gruss Lipper Biophotonics Center and professor and cochair of anatomy and structural biology, was senior author of the paper. Working with his colleagues, he generated a transgenic mouse in which genes coding for the structural protein beta actin would, when expressed, yield fluorescently labeled mRNA. Beta actin mRNA is a highly expressed molecule found in all mammalian tissues.

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