ScienceDaily (2010-06-06) -- Scientists have identified two small RNA molecules which ensure that enough red blood cells are produced efficiently, by fine-tuning a number of different genes involved in this process.
To form red blood cells, large, round cells known as precursors have to become small and disc-shaped, like balls of plasticine squeezed between finger and thumb. In the process, they must also produce the large quantities of haemoglobin that will allow them to transport oxygen, and shrink and dispose of their nucleus. The EMBL scientists found that two microRNAs, called MiR144 and MiR451, control the final stages of this process.
blood cell formation, or haematopoiesis
K. D. Rasmussen, S. Simmini, C. Abreu-Goodger, N. Bartonicek, M. Di Giacomo, D. Bilbao-Cortes, R. Horos, M. Von Lindern, A. J. Enright, D. O'Carroll. The miR-144/451 locus is required for erythroid homeostasis. Journal of Experimental Medicine, 2010; DOI: 10.1084/jem.20100458