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ERC

MIRNABETAIDENTITY Report Summary

Project ID: 617351
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Israel

Periodic Report Summary 2 - MIRNABETAIDENTITY (microRNAs confer robustness to adult beta–cell identity)

How do cells robustly keep their defined phenotype and what allow them to maintain their identity over decades? We believe that molecular mechanisms for active maintenance of the differentiated state include regulatory RNAs. The study of small endogenous RNAs (micro-RNAs) in our lab uncovers new molecular genetics functions that allow lifelong cells, such as beta cells in the pancreas, to keep precise healthy functions. We believe that better understanding of genes that are involved in maintaining differentiation lead to new therapies that reinforce cellular identity and block de–differentiation. Our research uses advanced genetics tools to decipher what miRNAs do and how they function in cells and tissues. We see that miRNAs serve many levels of regulation in the cell, some of them previously unexpected, for example in the nucleus. We also see surprising miRNA - target pairs that control how tissues, such as the endocrine pancreas grow in size and meet up body demand for insulin. We also see previously-unreported responses to injuries and characterize new pathways where miRNAs are involved in regulating tissue homeostasis. Overall our molecular medicine studies of miRNAs, contribute to mapping of a genetic landscape with clear relevance to human biology and disease.

Reported by

WEIZMANN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE
Israel
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