Biaffin GmbH & Co KG - Biomolecular Interaction Analyses using SPR Biacore Biosensors

Function of small RNAs across kingdoms (FOSRAK)

Function of small RNAs across kingdoms (FOSRAK)

FOSRAK members in Heraklion

On the 1st of January 2005 nine European academic and SME partners started a new EU funded "Specifically Targeted Research Project (STREP)" for a period of three years. The project is entitled "Function of small RNAs across kingdoms (FOSRAK)" to study the hitherto unrecognised cellular role of various classes of short non-coding RNAs in regulating gene expression in a variety of organisms across different biological kingdoms like eubacteria, protists, plants and animals.

FOSRAK members in Heraklion

Abstract: In December 2002, Science magazine selected small RNAs with regulatory function as the scientific ‘breakthrough of the year’. Small RNAs play a hitherto unrecognised critical regulatory role in controlling gene expression at different levels in a variety of organisms across kingdoms. The number of small non-coding RNAs discovered in recent years is in a range of one thousand. In a fundamental genomics approach this consortium aims towards advancement of knowledge on how regulatory RNAs are integrated into the general network of gene expression.

In addition, evolutionary aspects will be addressed to obtain a broad and integrated understanding of riboregulators. For that reason, this project will investigate organisms from different kingdoms (eubacteria, protists, plants and animals) and will deal with various classes of regulatory RNAs (microRNAs, snoRNAs and various bacterial regulatory RNAs). The participating groups will identify and characterise molecular targets of small RNAs, and monitor the expression patterns of both regulatory RNAs and their targets under various environmental or developmental conditions to assess their biological function.

Bioinformatic tools will be developed by designing new algorithms for the in silico prediction of RNA targets. A special focus will be directed towards small RNAs from pathogenic bacteria and on human small RNAs that are implicated in human diseases, including common forms of cancer. Research on both these topics should generate vital knowledge applicable for future therapeutic intervention.

Furthermore, the project partners will identify and characterise multi-protein complexes and other protein components that are required for the generation or function of small regulatory RNAs and that are of potential biotechnological interest. Finally, structural and functional aspects of small RNAs and their associated proteins will be studied in order to reveal the mechanism of interaction with their targets. The experimental strategies will pursue multidisciplinary approaches (gene expression, proteomics, bioinformatics) and make use of sophisticated instrumentation, such as scanning force microscopy, surface plasmon resonance, and microcalorimetry.

Contact: Dr. Bastian Zimmermann
Biaffin GmbH & Co KG
www.biaffin.com
www.proteinkinase.de

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