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27 / 09 / 2018

Small non-coding RNAs with a big impact on the development of skeletal muscle (MUNSTERBERG_U19DTP)

how to apply

Skeletal muscle is important for health and well-being throughout life. To understand better the factors that contribute to the maintenance of this important tissue, we study its development in the embryo. It is known that many of the genes and mechanisms that control embryo development are conserved and perform similar functions in the adult organism. This is also the case for small non-coding RNAs, called microRNAs, which are highly expressed in developing and mature skeletal muscles, where they can have protective function, for example in ageing or disease. To discover the full potential of microRNAs for healthy muscles we are using functional experiments in early avian embryos in ovo. We showed that muscle specific microRNAs negatively regulate the expression of crucial transcription factors and epigenetic regulators (Pax3, Gli3, BAF60a/b). This is essential to provide robustness to developmental timing during the progenitor to myoblast transition, and to stably establish the myogenic differentiation programme. This new project will investigate further the role of miR-133 in myogenesis, using established approaches novel targets will be validated and their role in early muscle development will be tested. The student will be fully integrated into a lively laboratory investigating different aspects of skeletal muscle and cardiac development in avian embryos.