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Function and mechanism of viral miRNAs in cytomegalovirus infection


This project addresses a fundamental and pressing question in gene regulation: the function of microRNAs (miRNAs). Discovered only in the last decade, these small (~22 nt) RNAs represent an important new class of molecules and are expected to play large, and previously unrecognized, roles in numerous cellular pathways.

We propose to use murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) as a tool to study miRNA function, by examining the target specificity of the MCMV miRNAs, and the influence of the miRNAs on the gene pathways involved in infection. Specifically, this project will utilize microarray and proteomic strategies to define the gene factors whose expression is altered by viral miRNAs.

Results will be mapped onto viral and host gene networks in order to examine the local or global influence of each miRNA. Overall, the planned studies will provide critical new information on the function of mircroRNAs in a viral system and will shed light on viral/host interactions important for infection.

The results will provide an important framework with which to evaluate miRNA function in other (potentially more complex) systems. Novel detection strategies for miRNAs will also be explored, as these RNA molecules are expected to represent a new class of biomarkers.

Call for proposal

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Old College, South Bridge
United Kingdom