RNA structure and post-transcriptional regulation of protein expression

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Watson CIT - SWIG Boardroom (CIT241)


Alain Laederach
Associate Professor
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Dept of Biology

"RNA structure and post-transcriptional regulation of protein expression”

RNA is now known to be involved in many aspects of genetic regulation.  An RNA's function in a cell is determined by not only its primary sequence, but also its structure. Unlike DNA, RNA rarely has a complementary second strand, so RNA nucleotides are free to interact in an intramolecular fashion resulting in folding of the polymer chain. Stretches of RNA that are complementary in sequence have a propensity to pair, forming elements of RNA secondary structure. The disruption of functional RNA structural content can be as deleterious to biological function as the disruption of functional sequence content.  The consequences of these structural elements depend on their cellular context and may affect alternative splicing, poly-adenylation, RNA decay, RNA interference, regulation by long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) or translational efficiency. Understanding this new “code” of genetic regulation is essential to accurately predicting the relationship between protein and gene expression. By drawing on specific, human disease-phenotype associations in non-coding regions of our genome we can begin to reveal the rules that govern these relationships and better understand the potential role of RNA structure in shaping human disease and phenotype.