A team of researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) are investigating an intracellular protein named CNOT, which may offer additional insight into the development of osteoporosis. CNOT, of which there are 11 known types and that are known for their role in mRNA degradation, is being investigated by Tadashi Yamamoto, PhD, and members of his Cell Signal Unit. The research team is investigating the physiological functions of the mammalian CNOTs and their mechanisms, and has discovered that the protein is involved in the regulation of gene expression.

According to a Science Daily news report, the researchers also discovered that a receptor protein, which receives extracellular signals, sends a message to CNOTs to regular mRNA degradation. The group is presently looking into the functions of each CNOT in human homeostasis, and their study specifically will focus on the functions of a specific CNOT by analyzing mice in which a corresponding gene is removed.

The Science Daily news report notes that another study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) demonstrated that CNOT3 can play an important role in the pathogenesis of aging-induced osteoporosis. The researchers discovered that the bones of mice whose CNOT3 expression was suppressed are fragile, and also revealed that CNOT3 stabilizes a specific mRNA that produces an osteoclast cell-surface receptor called RANK.

As such, CNOT3 deficiency enhances production and activity of the RANK receptor and stimulates osteoclasts, which are responsible for re-absorbing bone tissue. As indicated on the Science Daily news report, the results suggest that a reduction of CNOT3 expression in bone tissue causes a decrease in bone density in the elderly, contributing to the development of osteoporosis.

In addition to exploring the overall functions of CNOTs, the OIST Cell Signal Unit has been offering other scientists their findings on these intracellular proteins, their expertise with gene-deficient mice, and their analytical expertise on CNOT, according to the Science Daily news report. Yamamoto says, “By bringing together individual expertise, we can elucidate mechanisms of various biological phenomena. I am particularly eager to discover mechanisms behind the development of various diseases associated with CNOTs.”

Photo Appears Courtesy of OIST

Sources: Science Daily, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology