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Functional and Structural Genomics of Viral RNA

Final Report Summary - FSG-V-RNA (Functional and Structural Genomics of Viral RNA)

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a central molecule in all living organisms. They can adopt a wide variety of conformations, including single-stranded and complex tertiary structures tightly associated with their functions. To understand the function of RNAs, and to act on these functions with small molecules, it is essential to expand our knowledge of the structure of these molecules and of their interactions.

A multidisciplinary research approach was taken in the project to address this need, by integrating the research facilities of a number of leading European labs as well as a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME). This project was a more targeted complementary project, which aimed at developing and improving tools for the rapid structural analysis of RNA and RNA-protein complexes in several RNA viruses.

New and optimised research tools for the structure/function analysis of RNA and RNA-based processes were generated. The potential of these tools in correlating structure and function of RNA molecules and the identification of inhibitors will enhance basic research on RNA splicing, translation and the recently discovered essential mechanisms for the post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression that involve non-coding RNAs.

These tools are also expected to enhance our understanding of viral RNAs significantly and to further the development of new antiviral drugs. The consortium allows the setting up a multidisciplinary research-project that addresses biomedical questions in a unique way that extends beyond current research programmes.