Gene Regulation, RNA, Epigenetics
Research in gene regulation and gene expression, RNA biology, and epigenetics at the Vienna BioCenter combines diverse approaches ranging from biochemistry and cell biology to genomics and transcriptomics to unravel the connections between genomes and the transcripts they encode. A particular focus is on RNA research, where myriad roles for this nucleic acid have only recently come to light.
Gene expression is at the heart of nearly all cellular processes. Differential gene expression is a prerequisite of multi-cellularity and the main driver of development, while failures in gene regulation cause many diseases including neurological disorders and diabetes. Sophisticated mechanisms exercise tight control over when, where, to what extent, and in what form genes are expressed. This makes the relationship between genotype and phenotype a complex one.
These control mechanisms are being unraveled at the Vienna BioCenter by studying regulation at different levels of gene expression: at the transcriptional level (e.g., transcription factors, regulatory DNA elements, DNA/chromatin modifications, and higher-order chromatin structure), the co-transcriptional level (certain non-coding RNAs), and the post-transcriptional level (e.g., splicing, RNA modifications, and RNA decay). Epigenetic processes alter phenotypes without changing the DNA sequence, and epigenetics research has long been a stronghold at the Vienna BioCenter, with seminal discoveries on DNA and histone methylation, and more recently on small RNA-mediated silencing.
Another strength lies in RNA biology research, with 17 RNA research groups working on messenger RNAs, transfer RNAs, ribosomal RNAs, and non-coding RNAs. The intimate involvement of RNA in gene regulation has become increasingly apparent in recent years. In particular, small RNAs, which include microRNAs, small interfering RNAs, piwi-interacting RNAs, and bacterial small regulatory RNAs, have fueled a renaissance in this field, with the Vienna BioCenter internationally recognized for its contributions.
Studies of small RNA-based defense systems in bacteria and eukaryotes not only provided fundamental insights into the ancient arms race between parasitic genetic elements and their hosts, but also led to powerful tools to silence gene expression or to edit genomes. These tools, including RNA interference- and CRISPR/Cas-based approaches, have revolutionized molecular biology.
The Vienna BioCenter organizes the annual Microsymposium on Small RNAs, which was founded in 2005 and has established itself as the major small RNA symposium in Europe
|Baccarini||Max Perutz Labs||Deciphering the MAPK pathway in vivo|
|Belkhadir||GMI||Plant cell signalling at the interface of growth and defences|
|Blaas||Max Perutz Labs||Early interactions of viruses with host cells|
|Busslinger||IMP||Stem cell commitment in haematopoiesis|
|Clausen||IMP||Molecular mechanisms of protein quality control|
|Dagdas||GMI||The role of autophagy in plant development and stress tolerance|
|Decker||Max Perutz Labs||Host responses and innate immunity to bacteria|
|Elling||IMBA||Functional genomics in embryonic stem cells|
|Foisner||Max Perutz Labs||Lamins in nuclear organization and human disease|
|Fuchs||Max Perutz Labs||Stress response in simple epithelia|
|Haubensak||IMP||Circuit mechanics of emotional behaviour|
|Knoblich||IMBA||Brain development and disease|
|Kovarik||Max Perutz Labs||Signaling and gene expression in inflammation|
|Kowalski||Max Perutz Labs||Molecular and structural biology of picornaviruses|
|Kuchler||Max Perutz Labs||Host-Pathogen Interactions & Mechanisms of Drug Resistance & Fungal Pathogenesis|
|Leonard||Max Perutz Labs||Structural Biology of Lipid-Activated Signal Transduction|
|Martens||Max Perutz Labs||Molecular Mechanisms of Autophagy|
|Martinez||Max Perutz Labs||Biochemistry, physiology and disease of the tRNA splicing pathway in mammalian cells|
|Obenauf||IMP||Molecular mechanisms of metastasis and drug resistance|
|Ogris||Max Perutz Labs||PP2A enzyme biogenesis and monoclonal antibodies|
|Pavri||IMP||Molecular mechanisms of antibody diversification|
|Penninger||IMBA||Modeling human disease|
|Skern||Max Perutz Labs||Interactions between viruses and cells|
|Swarts||Max Perutz Labs||Tree-ring genomics|
|Van der Veeken||IMP||T cell differentiation and function|
|Versteeg||Max Perutz Labs||Ubiquitin-mediated regulation of immune signaling|
|Zuber||IMP||Finding and probing cancer drug targets using advanced RNAi technologies|