Imagine pre-messenger RNA as ….

Irn bru research

Ok, lets talk about pre-messenger RNA splicing, shall we?

Mmmm, na it’s a bit complicated. Hang on, it might be easier to use Scotland’s ‘other national drink’, the very orange ‘Irn Bru‘ to think about what’s going on here.

RNA pre-messages usually have strings of sequence made up of A’s, C’s, G’s and U’s. But let’s imagine that a pre-mRNA is the ode to Irn-Bru (see picture above), and that chunks of the message are removed – or spliced out – to leave a final useable message. See how the meaning of the original pre-message bears no resemblance to the final message? (and the ways messages are spliced can result in very different outcomes).

Irn Bru is the same colour as ethidium bromide DNA gel stain (…or SyBr safe, if you’re younger)]. Might test Irn-Bru for its DNA staining ability (it has mystical properties after all), but I’ll leave someone else to test whether EtBr/SyBr safe passes for Irn Bru*

* disclaimer no responsibility is hereby taken if anyone actually does this…

(Editor: did you know that Scotland is one of the few places in the Western world where Coke is not the no.1 top selling soft drink. In Scotland Irn Bru is the top selling soft drink.)

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Let’s eat grandma

lets eat grandma cropped

Thinking about how to encapsulate alternative splicing in one ‘killer’ picture.

The picture above is what I came up with….

The analogy is that the inclusion/exclusion of alternative exons during pre-mRNA splicing can have the same dramatic effects as the inclusion/exclusion of key punctuation in a sentence.

I sincerely apologise to all Grandmas seeing/reading this….

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C’est Chic

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Caught a piece on Nile Roger’s new ‘Chic’ album on GMTV this morning…what a inspiration!

He explained that his new album is called ‘It’s About Time

Wow…talk about great minds thinking alike! Our blog, and research is also ‘about’…’time’.

Only we are all about circadian clocks and how plants tell the time.

Just how do plants anticipate the light at dawn for photosynthesis, and how do they time the breakdown of the starch that they’ve made during the day for surviving the dark of the night? How do they do this?

It’s their circadian clocks – molecular DNA and protein ‘cogs’ that link together to make a molecular timer. They just keep ticking – even during the night – maybe it even allows plants to ‘stay up all night to get lucky!’

Pretty funky, no?

We have circadian clocks too. Nile Rogers is an international jet set superstar. I’m sure he’ll feel his clock ‘squeal’ at times with all the globe trotting and jet lag. That’s when the internal clock becomes de-synchronised with its new environment, and it takes a day or two to readjust. Understanding circadian biology is a really ‘cool’ area of research just now. You only have to look at last years Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine – it went to circadian clock research!

All this funk makes me want to get down to our research song! Check it out here:

https://abouttimeresearch.com/2015/05/22/its-nice-2-alt-splice/

Good times………

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Drawing Splicing 1

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Back to thinking about how to explain alternative splicing in an easy, graphical or pictorial way.

Here’s an attempt at sketching plant cells under a microscope. Grid like arrangement of cells, with chloroplasts (photosynthesis organelles) as greenish circles, and the cell nucleus as dark circles/blobs.

Not entirely sure where this is going…maybe a cartoon. Still hope to include Pandas somewhere along the line…