It has for decades been known that the building blocks, known as bases, within DNA and RNA molecules can be chemically modified. In DNA, the occurrence and biological function of such modifications has been a fundamentally important area of biosciences research with far-reaching impact. In stark contrast, the progress for research into RNA modifications has been very disappointing which is especially unfortunate as these modifications are actually known to be more prevalent and chemically complex than in DNA; and many of the enzymes that catalyse the RNA modifications have been linked with human disease, suggesting important biological roles. The primary reason for this slow progress has been due to the fact that similar detailed studies of RNA modifications have been technically very difficult. However in recent years, major advances in DNA/RNA sequencing techniques have been made that has allowed RNA modifications to be identified in the detail required to elucidate biological function. The first such studies were described in 2012 and indeed we are just now beginning to realise the potential scope offered by such investigations in biosciences research. The research field is however still in its very early stages and a massive concerted effort is required between laboratories in order to provide detailed maps of these RNA modifications, with preferably information regarding which cellular enzymes catalyse the modifications. The studies proposed here will provide major contributions to the field in this regard.
|Effective start/end date||1/04/16 → 31/08/19|
- Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council