Function and regulation of microRNAsMicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a large and important class of regulatory RNAs that silence target mRNAs through an antisense mechanism. They function in diverse developmental processes such as apoptosis and cell differentiation, and their dysregulation has been implicated in various diseases, especially cancers. We are particularly interested in addressing three key questions in the field: i) how do miRNAs function mechanistically; ii) how are the miRNAs themselves regulated; and iii) what are the developmental functions of specific miRNAs? We also pursue questions of general interest in RNA metabolism.
Towards our goals, we are using C. elegans and mammalian cells, and a diversity of techniques and approaches including among others genetic screens, genomics, imaging, and biochemistry. We have thus been able to obtain insights into molecules that mediate miRNA activity; uncover mechanisms and physiology of active turnover of miRNA in worms and mammals; and identify an unexpected level of target specificity of miRNAs under physiological conditions, during development. Our long-term goal is to understand these processes quantitatively.
FMI report pages for Helge Grosshans