A gene known as BMI1, previously established for its inhibition of brain aging, may be of importance in preventing the formation of G-quadruplexes (G4) structures in the brain, associated with neurodegeneration.
As detailed in the journal Nature Communications, a team of neuroscientists at Universite de Montreal unveiled that the presence of the BMI1 gene led to the formation of G4 structures, thus preventing disruption in the functioning of neurons.
The new discovery could be fundamental in understanding the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease and how the disease can be prevented from occurring among elderly people.
“Intragenic G4 structures affecting splicing events are furthermore associated with reduced neuronal gene expression in AD. Active L1 sequences are thus at the origin of most G4 structures observed in human neurons,” researchers explained in their journal report.
“Our findings thus expose, for the first time, the nature of DNA sequences capable of forming G4 structures in human neurons, the mechanisms underlying their activation, and the biological impact of their deregulation.”
The study was authored by Roy Hanna, Anthony Flamier, Andrea Barabino, and Gilbert Bernier.