José Roberto Bermúdez Barrientos
email: jose.bermudez [at] cinvestav.mx
Small RNAs (sRNAs) are keystone gene regulators in eukaryotic organisms. Small RNA research has focused on topics such as endogenous regulation of developmental processes, sRNA de-regulation in disease, sRNA-mediated protection against transposable elements or protection against viruses. Secreted sRNAs are widespread in tissues and common in many organisms which suggests a functional role. Recently, studies have revealed that sRNA may trespass the organism barrier and have inter-species regulation capacities.
One of the most cited examples of this communication is the parasite Heligmosomoides polygyrus. This nematode spends its adult phase in the intestinal lumen of mouse. During this stage, H. polygyrus secretes vesicles loaded with proteins along sRNAs. Previous studies reported that microRNAs represent most the vesicles RNA content. However, our laboratory has discovered that microRNAs comprise only a small fraction of the total RNA. The aim of my PhD project is to unravel the functional relevance of these new H. polygyrus sRNA populations during the interaction with mouse. We are currently describing these new sRNA populations and predicting possible targets in Mus musculus.