Discovering functions of imprinted, non-coding RNAs
Genomic imprinting results in the preferential expression of a gene from either the maternal or paternal allele. Nearly all imprinted domains express non-coding RNAs, including long and small non-coding RNAs, in a parental biased manner. Yet the physiological functions and molecular mechanisms of these imprinted transcripts are poorly understood. With a focus on imprinted transcripts highly expressed in neurons, we seek to understand how parental gene inheritance influences gene expression in the brain through the activity of non-coding RNAs.
We have established an in vitro system that enables detection and manipulation of allele-specific expression in neurons. We are using this system to (1) delineate the neuronal networks regulated by imprinted microRNAs, (2) identify the neuronal targets of imprinted orphan small nucleolar RNAs, and (3) build a mechanistic understanding of cis regulation by imprinted long non-coding RNAs.
Imprinted disorders arise from inappropriate genetic alterations within imprinted domains. We have previously shown that targeting an imprinted long non-coding RNA is a viable therapeutic strategy for the treatment of an imprinted disorder, Angelman syndrome. Our laboratory is expanding on this work by examining the physiological role of imprinted non-coding RNAs during normal and dysregulated neurodevelopment.
We aim to build mechanistic models of the cellular and physiological activity of imprinted non-coding RNAs, including microRNAs, small nucleolar RNAs, and long non-coding RNAs.
We are a collaborative group of scientists seeking to uncover new regulatory roles of RNA in the cell. Read our mission statement and learn more about who we are.
We are expanding our team! We aim to build a multidisciplinary group from diverse backgrounds, including computational biologists, molecular biologists, and neuroscientists.