Harvard Medical School, USA
Posters & Accepted Abstracts: Transcriptomics
Transfer RNA (tRNA) is traditionally considered to be an adaptor molecule that helps ribosomes to decode messenger RNA (mRNA) and synthesize protein. Recent studies have demonstrated that tRNAs also serve as a major source of small non-coding RNAs that possess distinct and varied functions. These tRNA fragments are heterogeneous in size, nucleotide composition, biogenesis and function. tRNA fragments seem to play multiple roles in cell physiology with relevance to human health and disease. Our research is focused on the investigation of the physiological roles of tRNA fragments and their therapeutic application in cancer biology and neurodegeneration fields. Particular class of tRNA-derived fragment, so called tRNA-derived stress-induced RNAs (tiRNAs), helps cells to adapt stressful conditions. They trigger stress response pathway that is beneficial for cell survival. This tiRNA-mediated stress response is lost in certain neurodegenerative disease causing neuronal death and is amplified in cancers where it provides advantage under hostile tumor environment. Selected tiRNAs and their DNA analogues assemble stable unique G-quadruplex structures that can be delivered to the cells to mimic this stress response and can be used as targets or tools for the treatment of diseases.