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Novel roles of non-coding RNAs in differentiation and disease

Final Report Summary - RIBOREG (Novel roles of non-coding RNAs in differentiation and disease)

The project aimed to identify novel non-coding RNA (ncRNA) genes and analyse their mechanisms of action by developing a multidisciplinary approach integrating bioinformatics, cell biology, genetics and genomic strategies. The project concentrated its efforts on ncRNAs acting on post-transcriptional processes to generate novel information on gene content and function in plant and animal organisms. The knowledge gained on RNA-mediated regulatory mechanisms was exploited for developing novel technologies for ncRNA biology. The structure of riboregulators and their modes of action appear to be very variable. Riboregulators can be separated into three major classes: The small (21-25 nt) si/miRNAs; the long non-protein coding RNAs produced by RNA polymerase II (npcRNAs) and the ncRNAs produced by RNA polymerase III or pol III riboregulators (e.g. snoRNAs, SINE elements).

Technological developments in the project included the development of LNA technology for the analysis of miRNA expression, the development of Knock-out miRNA technology using both LNA oligos in mammal cells and a new riboregulatory mechanism involving anti-miRNAs. The LNA probe technology has allowed analysis of miRNAs in way that was not possible before. The collaboration in the RIBOREG project has allowed speeding up the development of the LNA probe technology and partner 6 / Exiqon has been able to commercialise a number of products based on this technology. The LNA probe technology are sold in the miRCURY product series and constitute probes for in situ hybridisation and Northerns as well as LNA oligonucleotides for knock down experiments and capture probe sets for microarrays.

The project has also organised, in addition to its scientific meetings, a workshop on non-coding RNAs co-sponsored by the European Science Foundation (ESF) in Carry Le Rouet, near Marseille, France. This workshop was a major dissemination event of RIBOREG and included a variety of European participants as well as other STREPs from the EEC, the projects BACRNAs, CALLIMIR and FOSRAK.