Work package 1: ncRNA functions
For many decades most genetic information was thought to be transacted by proteins. However, growing evidence suggests that less than 2% of the human genome encodes for proteins, whereas up to 95% of it is transcribed into RNA. These findings document the existence of an overwhelmingly large number of so far not well characterized non-coding (nc)RNAs of which many are alternatively spliced and/or processed into smaller products. These ncRNAs include miRNAs, endogenous small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and thousands of longer transcripts (including complex patterns of interlacing and overlapping sense and antisense transcripts), most of whose functions are unknown. These RNA regulatory layers play a role in the control of chromatin architecture/epigenetic memory, transcription, RNA splicing, editing, translation and turnover. RNA regulatory networks may determine most of our complex characteristics, play a significant role in disease, and constitute an unexplored world of genetic variation both within and between species.
In this work package we explore disease-associated alterations in specific ncRNA species and aim at elucidating their biological functions and molecular mechanisms through which they contribute to disease.
Main research activities in this work package:• Mechanisms and roles of RNA silencing
• RNA-mediated effects on genome and chromatin
• ncRNAs: function, disease, and therapeutic intervention
Participants:M. Stoffel (Leader)
J. Lingner (Co-leader)