RNA expression and post-transcriptional regulatory events

A well-orchestrated symphony

Although “DNA codes for RNA, which codes for proteins” has long been viewed as the central dogma of molecular biology, this concept fails to reveal the complexity involved in synthesizing RNAs and the surprisingly diverse functions of mature RNAs.

This 2015 ASBMB annual meeting theme will focus on the players and events involved in transcription, RNA processing and chromatin modifications – and how the coordination and crosstalk between these processes influences cell fate.

Getting to know the maestro and his orchestra

RNA polymerase II does not act as a solo artist. The synthesis of mRNAs and ncRNAs by RNA polymerase II is regulated by features of the DNA template, post-translational modifications and interactions with accessory factors. A combination of structural, biochemical and genomic studies is providing new insights into the coordinated activities of RNA polymerase II and other factors involved in transcription.

Perfecting the composition

Synthesizing a chain of ribonucleotides is not enough to make a functional RNA. Most nascent RNAs go through multiple steps of processing before reaching maturity. We are continuing to learn about how diverse maturation steps – including capping, splicing, modification and more – are carried out for specific types of RNAs and often coordinated with transcription.

Working in harmony

It turns out that RNA is not only the product of transcription but also an important regulator of the process. Recent studies continue to provide surprises and reveal new mechanisms of crosstalk among RNA, transcription and chromatin.

Reaching a crescendo

RNA expression acts as a maestro to shape cell fate and is highly regulated to stay in tune with cell function. New studies continue to provide insights into how transcription and RNA processing are regulated in specific biological contexts. 

Since deregulation of the transcription process underlies many human diseases, understanding how the orchestra produces such a magnificent symphony may allow us to restore harmony to sick cells. We look forward to your participation through submission of abstracts, oral and poster presentations, and lively discussions.

Grace Gill
Yan Jessie Zhang  
Organizers: Grace Gill, Tufts University School of Medicine, and Yan Jessie Zhang, University of Texas at Austin