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Research

 

All our research focuses on epigenetic mechanisms involving regulatory RNA.

The regulatory power of RNA was underestimated for a long time because small RNAs were neglected: since the discovery of the RNAinterference mechanism, we can explain many genetic and epigenetic phenomena.

Regulatory RNA has direct impact on gene expression e.g. by miRNA/siRNA attacking intact mRNA preventing translation. Next to these post-transcriptional mechanisms (PTGS), regulatory RNA can interact with the chromatin regulating in quantity and quality of transcription (CTGS).

Small RNAs of the RNAinterference pathways control vegetative gene expression and epigenetic inheritance.  We analyze the molecular mechanisms of small RNA biogenesis, modification and transport between cell compartments. In addition, we apply exogenous dsRNA to cells aiming to understand cellular uptake and systemic silencing in metazoens to use RNA as a drug.

Since RNA detection and quantification by NGS requires manipulation of the substance itself, we also characterize the effects of RNA biochemistry to library preparation methods aiming to use biochemistry to dissect individual RNA species and to optimize NGS quantification.