Clam centrosomes (centre, green) encased in RNA (blue)
Image: Mary Anne Alliegro
“Scientists know relatively little about the inner workings of centrosomes – organelles essential to cell division in humans and animals. Now new research by scientists studying surf clams at the MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) shows that centrosomes may contain ribonucleic acid (RNA), the molecule that translates genes into proteins.
The research… suggests that centrosomes may carry at least some of their own genetic machinery and offers new opportunities to answer long-held questions about centrosome function, heredity, and evolution.”
“The next step will be to determine what role these RNAs might play in centrosome replication, the cell cycle, or the development of organisms,” Dr. Alliegro says.
The scientists hope their paper serves to alert researchers working in other model systems that centrosomal RNA might exist and that it could be playing an important role in life processes.