Recruitment to the NRPDTP and iCASE programmes are now open. The deadline for applications is the 27th November 2017.

02 / 10 / 2017

Exploring RNA structural conformation space in living cells (DING_J18DTP2)

how to apply

RNA plays crucial roles in living cells, ranging from metabolite sensing, transcription, RNA processing to translation. Its function is determined together by its sequence and structure. RNA structure encodes another layer of information besides the genetic code and it influences every step in the gene expression program. Despite its importance, studying of RNA structures has long been limited by the low-throughput nature of RNA structure probing. Recently several genome-wide in vivo RNA structure profiling methods have helped us to better understand the effects of sequence variation on RNA structure and their biological roles in living cells.

However, current RNA structure profiling methods represent a mixture, or an ensemble of different structural conformations. This limitation prevents us from accurately predicting in vivo RNA structures. In this proposal, I will dissect the mixture of different structural conformations by both SNP-structure evaluation and thermodynamic conformation shifting studies. This proposal aims to investigate, for the first time, genome-wide structural conformation alteration in living cells. Furthermore, this proposed work will also study the impact of RNA secondary structure on gene expression. This study will involve a broad range of knowledge across multiple disciplines including bioinformatics, systems biology, biophysics, computational biology and nucleic acid chemistry.