Medical Research

University of California, Irvine

Robert Spitale, John Chaput
Irvine, CA
December 2017

A grand challenge in the post-genomic era is to elucidate the complex layers of epigenetic control that regulate gene expression pathways in human cells.  Genome-wide association studies indicate that RNA modifications participate in all major post-transcriptional processes, including RNA stability, tagging, transport, and cellular localization.  However, the underlying mechanism by which these pathways operate remains largely unknown because current RNA biology tools do not distinguish the contributions of individual modifications.  This limitation poses a significant barrier to our understanding of the mechanism by which RNA markers influence cellular regulation.  Moving from a global understanding of the epi-transcriptome to a local understanding requires the development of new RNA biology tools that would make it possible, for the first time, to measure the contribution of specific modifications found on individual RNAs.  This project aims to determine whether cellular functions are regulated by individual post-transcriptional modifications or by ensembles of RNA modifications that function as a synergistic unit.  The approach of the two investigators at the University of California, Irvine involves creating a novel set of reagents (aptamers) and methods that can selectively disrupt and monitor specific RNA modifications at pre-defined sites in the human transcriptome.  Successful completion of this project would have a profound impact on our understanding of RNA biology and human disease.

Site design: <a href="">Formative Inc.</a>