BRFAA - Biomedical Research Foundation Academy Of Athens
Biomedical Research Foundation Academy Of AthensAcademy Of Athens

Home

Post-transcriptional regulatory networks implicated in the pathophysiological processes of the nervous system

We explore specific and global aspects of post-transcriptional gene regulation mediated by neuronally-enriched RNA-binding proteins and microRNAs with the aim of characterizing their biological function and uncovering novel routes for the treatment neurodegenerative diseases.

 

Background

The timing and dosage of gene expression are fundamental determinants of cellular phenotype and organismal complexity. Consequently, the regulation of gene expression is highly coordinated at multiple levels by cis-elements and trans-acting factors. Whereas for many years the specific focus has been on basal transcriptional regulation, post-transcriptional mechanisms regulating RNA metabolism have increasingly emerged as major determinants of gene output. The main reason is the high sequence plasticity, structural diversity, and agility of mRNA molecules that makes them ideal hubs for partners to bind and modulate protein output in time and space. RNA binding proteins (RBPs) are trans-acting factors that reversibly bind to these mRNAs either alone or in conjunction with non-coding RNAs, particularly microRNAs (miRs). The transit interaction of RBPs and miRs with the mRNA targets results in the formation of ribonucleoprotein complexes that determine the fate of mRNAs and ultimately the protein sequence, localization, and levels of expression.

 

Research goals

• Delineate the epigenetic regulatory mechanisms involved in the control of proteins implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer's disease
• Elucidate the specific function of neuronal microRNAs and RNA binding proteins
• Unravel the neurotherapeutic potential of microRNAs
• Identify microRNA-based biomarkers in the plasma of patients with PD and metabolic diseases