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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ABSORPTION AND METABOLISM OF ESSENTIAL MINERAL NUTRIENTS IN CHILDREN Title: Plant-based microRNA presences in mice and human sera to breast milk

item Alejo, Rita -
item Yang, Jian -
item Hirschi, Kendal -

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 18, 2012
Publication Date: January 10, 2013
Citation: Alejo, R., Yang, J., Hirschi, K.D. 2013. Plant-based microRNA presences in mice and human sera to breast milk [abstract]. Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, 2013 Genetics Retreat, January 10-11, 2013, Galveston, Texas. 19:10.

Technical Abstract: Plant foods contain hundreds of thousands of different small RNAs, including microRNAs (miRNAs). A microRNA (miRNA) is a tiny (19-24 nucleotide) piece of RNA that attaches to a specific protein-making mRNA, thus inhibiting protein production. A recent finding shows that a miRNA in rice survives digestion, circulates through the body and modulates gene expression. Given that six nucleotides of perfect complementary between the seed region of a small RNA and its target is sufficient to promote RNA silencing in mammals, how many of the tens of thousands of plant miRNAs regulate gene expression in animals? Answering this question may alter our understanding of nutrition, tans-kindgom gene regulation and open up new vistas for gene therapy. Our studies are specifically focused on replicating and then extending these observations from rice. Initially, we are conducing proof of principle experiments in mice, testing if we can find plant-based miRNAs in mouse sera and liver samples. We have also done several human feeding trails looking for plant-based miRNAs via RT-PCR. I am particularly interested in determining if plant-based miRNAs are present in breast milk, and how the levels of plant-based miRNAs compare to breast milk taken from obese, lean, and teenage mothers.

Last Modified: 12/1/2015
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