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What makes your cells self-destruct from too much fat and sugar?

One of the built-in defense mechanisms of our cells is that they self destruct when overloaded with fat and sugar. This helps kill off damaged cells, and prevents them from multiplying into cancers. While this ability is crucial for the body to maintain itself, up until now we've never known what causes this fat-and-sugar deathstroke. Turns out the culprit is RNA, a single strand of nucleic acids that aids in many aspects of genetic communication and functioning inside cells.

When three tiny RNAs are present — U32a, U33, and U35a — their cells will die due to metabolic stress. Without them, the cell lives.


The fact that RNA was causing cell death here was a huge surprise, as the researchers expected DNA to be behind it. By selectively removing these three RNAs, they were able to protect mice from cell death, which could have some pretty serious benefits (though it could also be dangerous). Researchers think that this discovery might help protect internal organs from cell damage caused by diabetes and obesity related diseases.

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RNA is not made of strings of amino acids. RNA is composed of a single strand of nucleic acids.