Welcome to the RNAlab!
Our general interest lies within the realm of gene regulation, with a focus on RNA-based regulatory mechanisms.
Many of our projects are devoted to studying the functional and evolutionary effects that microRNAs have on gene expression. We develop computational approaches to detect over- and under-represented sequence motifs that correlate with gene expression changes and that can be attributed to miRNA target sites. Highly conserved miRNAs are particularly interesting in this regard, since they tend to affect larger numbers of transcripts, even though the majority of individual target sites are not highly conserved. By comparing experiments performed in different species, we can study the evolution of miRNA-target networks across various evolutionary distances.
We are also particularly interested in studying small RNAs that can be transferred between cells and even between species. Recently many extra-cellular small RNAs, including microRNAs, have been discovered, usually within exosomes. A few cases of intra-species communication have been documented, but many questions remain.
We actively collaborate with several groups both within
- Stewart Gillmor (Plant Development and Morphogenesis)
- Martin Heil (Plant Ecology)
- Alfredo Herrera (Fungal Development and Gene Expression)
- Ana María Ibarra (Aquaculture and Genomics of Molluscs)
- Rafael Montiel (Nuclear-Mitochondrial Interaction and Paleogenomics)
- Laila Partida (Microbial Interactions)
- Ruairidh Sawers (Maize Genetics and Genomics)
and outside of Mexico:
- Marie-Laure Baudet (Axonal Neurobiology)
- Amy Buck (Small RNAs in host-pathogen systems)
- Julie Claycomb (Argonautes, small RNAs and chromatin)
- Anton Enright (Functional Genomics of small RNAs)