We found new types of regulatory RNAs and previously-unsuspected molecules that are unique to some tissues or found only in primates. Their identities and abundances are modulated by a person’s sex, population origin and race/ethnicity. We are studying these molecules to learn what they do.
Some of the molecules we research
Click here to learn more about non-coding RNAs.
microRNAs (miRNAs) are short (20-24 nucleotides long) RNA molecules. They are well known for their role in regulating the levels of proteins and RNAs. In addition to our big body of work on miRNAs, our research has also drawn attention to miRNA isoforms. >Explore
transfer RNAs (tRNAs) are typically 71 to 90 nucleotides in length. They are the link between mRNAs and proteins. tRNA-derived fragments (tRFs) are 16 to 50 nucleotides long. Our research focuses on studying the biogenesis and mechanisms of action of several classes of tRFs and also their influence on health disparities. >Explore
cP-RNAs are RNA molecules containing a 2′ 3′-cyclic phosphate. cP-RNAs are functional but poorly-characterized molecules because standard RNA-seq cannot capture them. By using our cP-RNA-seq method to sequence cP-RNAs, we investigate the expression and biological significance of those new molecules. >Explore
Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) are small RNA molecules. Their length is between 25 to 32 nucleotides. piRNAs are present only in germ cells and interact with Piwi proteins to maintain genome integrity. They regulate genetic elements in germ cells, most notably the transposons. >Explore
Pyknons are short DNA motifs that have numerous genomic copies and at least one more copy in a protein-coding mRNA. Pyknons capture functional conservation in the absence of sequence conservation and have several conspicuous properties. >Explore
* Image copyright 2006 National Academy of Sciences
Many short regulatory RNAs
For more than 15 years, we have been studying the uncharted portions of the human genome. Frequently referred to as “junk DNA”, our team has shown that this seeming wasteland is a very rich source of important molecules with regulatory roles. Our work is revealing that many of these molecules are very important for our understanding of how diseases develop and progress.
Cutting Edge Molecule – Highlights
CMC’s work highlighted in Nature Methods February 2018 Issue. >Read
The biogenesis pathway of tRNA-derived piRNAs. >Read
MicroRNAs Rise from Trash to Treasure. >Read
Expanding the repertoire of tRNA-derived fragments. >Read
Db-PCR: a method to quantify specific small RNA. >Read