Bio X Make Up Work

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Brian Wei
Bio-X Make-up Work
Billy Lee
Dr. Jin Billy Lee is a professor of Genetics with a particular interest not in the DNA genome, but in RNA variation and its phenotypic effects. He is especially interested in the phenomenon of post-transcriptional RNA editing and its function. RNA editing has been demonstrated to be necessary for proper development and function, but its role is not well understood. The first paper, “Cis Regulatory Effects on A-to-I RNA Editing in Related Drosophila Species,” compares Adenosine-to-inosine (A-to-I) RNA Editing between two Drosophila species: D. melanogaster and D. sechellia. The primary interest of this study is the regulation of RNA editing and whether this regulation is determined predominantly by
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This study identifies conserved cis sequences as the primary determinant of RNA editing evolution, but does not rule out a role for either trans factors or Adar proteins. It also opens up future research into how cis sequence changes alter RNA editing level. In the second paper, “Novel RNA Modifications in the Nervous System: Form and Function,” Lee discusses the role of several novel RNA modification in the physiological setting of the nervous system. RNA editing plays a major role in many pathologies; for example, loss of normal function in an m6a demethylase, FTO, has been connected with cancer, ADHD, and Alzheimer’s. Other RNA modifications are necessary for proper development of the central nervous system. NSUN2 is an m5C RNA modification heavily implicated in embryogenesis, especially in the brain. Mutation of the NSUN2 gene is correlated with intellectual disability, developmental delay, and facial dysmorphism. The aforementioned A-to-I RNA edit is also enriched in the brain, and is necessary for the proper function of genes such as GluA2, which without modification leads to postnatal death. GluA2 is also implicated in glutamate reception by neurons, and consequently in the mechanisms of addiction. Furthermore, A-to-I RNA editing failure been linked with several chronic diseases, including
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