University of Cambridge > > Cambridge Cardiovascular Seminar Series > The RNAissance:Emerging roles for RNA-binding proteins as effectors and regulators of cardiovascular disease

The RNAissance:Emerging roles for RNA-binding proteins as effectors and regulators of cardiovascular disease

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The sequencing of organismal genomes has made it clear that neither genome length nor the number of encoded genes are directly correlated with developmental complexity. Instead, we have come to realize that the innate capacity to dynamically interpret and translate the useful information contained within the genome is critical in eliciting rapid and efficient responses to environmental stimuli. In particular, the modulation of cellular function necessitates a versatile utilization of the transcriptome. RNA -binding proteins have recently emerged as pivotal players in this biological script, as this class of proteins intimately guides the post-transcriptional processing of RNA species, including pre-mRNA splicing and stability, mRNA export and localization, and translation into protein. In doing so, RNA -binding proteins play a central role in conferring cells with the capacity to rapidly respond to various stimuli and stressors.

In the setting of cardiovascular health and disease, it is well established that changes in cellular phenotype are necessary for the efficient repair of damaged portions of the artery wall, while excessive responses to injury are tightly coupled with various pathologies. We have pinpointed a pivotal role for the RNA -binding protein Quaking in directing these functional adaptations to injury in vascular smooth muscle cells, endothelial cells, and monocytes and macrophages. This rapidly expanding insight into both the diversity and complexity of protein-coding (and non-coding) RNAs, and the discovery of an ever-increasing number of RNA -binding proteins that are involved in regulating these transcripts, has yielded key insight into the complexity of the human genome. Collectively, these studies suggest that the therapeutic targeting of RNA -binding proteins, such as Quaking, in a cell type-specific fashion could ameliorate cardiovascular disease by shifting cellular phenotype from a disease-advancing to a regenerative state.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Cardiovascular Seminar Series series.

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