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SIROCCO Partners CNRS and Exiqon work together to study muscle differentiation

SIROCCO Partner Annick Harel-Bellan and her colleague Anna Polesskaya study microRNAs and are interested in understanding how microRNAs regulate gene expression during muscle cell differentiation.

Dr Harel-Bellan is Directeur de Recherche at the Institut Andre Lwoff in Paris. She heads a group working on epigenetics and cancer. Dr Polesskaya is a senior scientist and longstanding member of this group. Drs Harel-Bellan and Polesskaya are collaborating with SIROCCO Partner Exiqon to monitor changes in microRNA expression during myogenesis and in parallel, are performing high-throughput screening with miRNA inhibitors using Exiqon’s miRCURY LNA™ Knockdown Library. Exiqon is a biotech company with activities based on their proprietary Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA™) detection technology. The data produced show surprisingly dramatic changes over time. A large number of microRNAs are differentially regulated and they fall in different categories of expression kinetics: generally up and down regulation of microRNAs was observed, but a few microRNAs appear to be transiently differentially regulated during the process. Interestingly, many of the differentially regulated microRNAs are related – either belonging to the same family or closely associated on the chromosome. The ultimate aim of the research is to understand the mechanisms that control the entry of cells into differentiation pathways. SIROCCO is an Integrated Project of the Sixth Framework Programme studying small RNAs in eukaryotic organisms.


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