Unravelling the relationship between RNA modification and RNA structure in RNA mobility


RNA plays crucial roles in living cells, ranging from metabolite sensing, signaling, transcription, RNA processing to translation. Its function is determined by its sequence and structure. Structure can be perturbed by several factors, including modifications, a well known example being methylation. RNA structure can thus encodes another layer of information besides the genetic code which can influence every step in the gene expression program as well as RNA signaling functions. Despite its key roles, we know very little about RNA structure and how it relates to function. This project aims to uncover the structure of mRNA using cutting-edge in vivo structure probing technologies coupled with advanced computational approaches, including deep learning.

This project will involve a broad range of training opportunities across multiple disciplines including genomics bioinformatics, systems biology, biophysics, computational biology and nucleic acid chemistry. If you have a background in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, computer science or physics and are interested in RNA, structure, shape, computation and/or technology and method development, this PhD might be for you. Please contact us to find out more.


Yang X., Cheema J., Zhang Y., Deng H., Duncan S., Ishaq U.M., Zhao J., Liu Q., Cao X., Kwok C.K., Ding Y., (2019) RNA G-quadruplex structures exist and function in vivo. Genome Biology, in press. bioRxiv link (https://doi.org/10.1101/839621)

Yang M., Woolfenden H., Zhang Y., Fang X., Liu Q., Vigh M. L., Cheema J., Yang X., Norris M., Yu S., Carbonell A., Brodersen P., Wang J., Ding Y., (2020) Intact RNA structurome reveals mRNA structure-mediated regulation of miRNA cleavage in vivo. Nucleic Acids Research, https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkaa577

On the selectivity, specificity and signalling potential of the long-distance movement of messenger RNA RJ Morris Current opinion in plant biology 43, 1-7