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ROles of ePitranscriptomic in diseasES

Project description

Insight into the role of mRNA modifications

Emerging evidence indicates that like chromatin, mRNA carries certain covalent modifications. Although their role is still being investigated, it seems that these modifications determine the levels, translatability and subcellular compartmentalisation of target mRNAs with profound consequences for cell processes. The EU-funded ROPES project will focus on epitranscriptomics as the missing link between genomic variability and cellular phenotype. Results will help delineate disease mechanisms, identify novel biomarkers and develop innovative therapies. By training early-stage researchers, ROPES aims to establish a European framework that can accelerate research efforts and industrial applications in the promising field of epitranscriptomics.


Epitranscriptomics is the study of RNA modifications and their role in the regulation of gene expression. As happened for DNA, extensive covalent modification of RNA was found already in the 70s. Nevertheless, a spectacular expansion of epitranscriptomics occurred mostly in the past seven years, when an extensive layer of base decorations was discovered in mRNAs and shown to undergo cell modulation. These modifications produce programmable fluctuations in mRNA levels, translatability and subcellular compartmentalization, affecting primary cell programs such as cell differentiation and response to stress. We thus anticipate that RNA modifications will prove as important as chromatin dynamics in shaping cell phenotypes. This emerging field is hence crucial for both basic science and application to human disease. Epitranscriptomic would provide the missing link between genomic variability and cellular phenotypes, contributing to explaining the cause of specific diseases and developing novel therapies. Epitranscriptomic research is dominated by the US and China, with the EU lagging behind. We thus need to rapidly create a European framework to integrate and accelerate research efforts and industrial applications in this emerging field. To address this major European need, ROPES will train a group of Early Stage Researchers who will become the seed of the European epitranscriptome science of this decade. They will join a recently established network of academic research groups and biotech companies devoted to advancing our understanding of RNA modifications while promoting the development of new biomarkers and therapies. Focusing on RNA editing and m6A methylation, ROPES will investigate disease mechanisms and new therapies in the fields of cancer, stem cell diseases and innate immunity, while developing innovative epitranscriptomics methods. The ROPES European Training Network is the first European effort to tackle the epitranscriptome for the advancement of medicine.



Net EU contribution
€ 522 999,36
Via calepina 14
38122 Trento

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Nord-Est Provincia Autonoma di Trento Trento
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (10)