The RNA Transcript, May 3, 2021
The Center's community expresses its heartfelt support of our colleagues and friends from India as another surge of COVID-19 is striking again. We hope that the mRNA vaccine can soon be available to all across the world.
We also want to acknowledge our Mexican and Latin community at large, and wish you a happy Cinco de Mayo!
TODAY, Monday, May 3, 4:00–5:00 pm ET | U-M Center for RNA Biomedicine

“Regulating the Regulators: Control of RNA Binding Proteins during Embryogenesis”
Olivia Rissland, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, RNA Bioscience Initiative, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics, University of Colorado School of Medicine
Neurons result from a highly complex and unique series of cell divisions. For example, in fruit flies, the process starts with stem cells that divide into mother cells (progenitor cells), that then divide into precursor cells that eventually become neurons. The figure above represents the complexity of neuron development.

A team of the University of Michigan (U-M), spearheaded by Nigel Michki, a graduate student, and Assistant Professor Dawen Cai in the department of Cell and Developmental Biology in the Medical School and in Biophysics in the College of LS&A, identified many genes that are important in fruit flies’ neuron development, and that had never been described before in that context.

Paper cited: Michki et al., The molecular landscape of neural differentiation in the developing Drosophila brain revealed by targeted scRNA-seq and multi-informatic analysis, Cell Reports (2021), DOI:

Tuesday, May 4, 3:00–4:00 pm ET | U-M Human Genetics, Medical School

"RNA Granules: A View from the RNA Perspective." 
Tatjana Trcek, Johns Hopkins, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Johns Hopkins University
Hosted by Stephanie Moon, Ph.D., Human Genetics and Center for RNA Biomedicine Scholar
Wednesday, May 5, 9:00 am ET | RNA Collaborative Seminar Series, hosted by Cambridge RNA Club

“A small-molecule targeted RNA degradation approach: empowering RNA methylation analysis”

"Mechanistic insight into the mRNA poly(A) tail machinery"

Moderator: Eric Miska, Ph.D.
Friday, May 7, 10:00 am ET | U-M Structure Seminar, Life Sciences Institute

"Investigation of RNA 3D Structure & Small Molecule Interactions by a Multidisciplinary Approach"
Elizabeth Tidwell, Graduate Student and member of the U-M Center for RNA Biomedicine Student & Postdoc Council, Koutmos Lab, Biophysics and Chemistry
Friday, May 7, 8:00 am ET | U-M Concussion Center Journal Club

"Unique diagnostic signatures of concussion in the saliva of male athletes: the Study of Concussion in Rugby Union through MicroRNAs (SCRUM)"
Authors: Valentina Di Pietro, Patrick O’Halloran, Callum N Watson, Ghazala Begum, Animesh Acharjee, Kamal M Yakoub, Conor Bentley, David J Davies, Paolo Iliceto, Gabriella Candilera, David K Menon, Matthew J Cross, Keith A Stokes, Simon PT Kemp, Antonio Belli, Br J Sports Med, 2021
Monday, May 17, 4:00–5:00 pm ET | U-M Center for RNA Biomedicine

“Annotation and Characterization of Human Protein-coding Small Open Reading Frames”
Thomas Martinez, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Salk Institute for Biological Studies

For press releases and blog articles about your upcoming top journal publications,

Our members' publications are available through Altmetric. Five queries are currently available: "RNA," "microRNA," "Transcriptome," "Translation," and "Molecule." Please make sure to have at least one of these key words in your title or abstract. Below are recent highlights.
ALS-associated mutation FUS-R521C causes DNA damage and RNA splicing defects

Abstract: Autosomal dominant mutations of the RNA/DNA binding protein FUS are linked to familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (FALS); however, it is not clear how FUS mutations cause neurodegeneration. Using transgenic mice expressing a common FALS-associated FUS mutation (FUS-R521C mice), we found that mutant FUS proteins formed a stable complex with WT FUS proteins and interfered with the normal interactions between FUS and histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1). ...
Enhanced detection of expanded repeat mRNA foci with hybridization chain reaction, Glineburg, M.R., Zhang, Y., Krans, A. et al. . acta neuropathol commun 9, 73 (2021).

Abstract: Transcribed nucleotide repeat expansions form detectable RNA foci in patient cells that contribute to disease pathogenesis. The most widely used method for detecting RNA foci, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), is powerful but can suffer from issues related to signal above background. Here we developed a repeat-specific form of hybridization chain reaction (R-HCR) as an alternative method for detection of repeat RNA foci in two neurodegenerative disorders: C9orf72 associated ALS and frontotemporal dementia (C9 ALS/FTD) and Fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome. ...
A translational riboswitch coordinates nascent transcription-translation coupling, Surajit Chatterjee, Adrien Chauvier, Shiba S. Dandpat, Irina Artsimovitch and Nils G. Walter, PNAS April 20, 2021 118 (16) e2023426118;

Abstract: Bacterial messenger RNA (mRNA) synthesis by RNA polymerase (RNAP) and first-round translation by the ribosome are often coupled to regulate gene expression, yet how coupling is established and maintained is ill understood. ... A model emerges wherein mRNA structure and transcription factors coordinate to dynamically modulate the efficiency of transcription–translation coupling.
A PRC2-independent function for EZH2 in regulating rRNA 2′-O methylation and IRES-dependent translation, Yi, Y., Li, Y., Meng, Q. et alNat Cell Biol 23, 341–354 (April 2021).

Abstract: Dysregulated translation is a common feature of cancer. Uncovering its governing factors and underlying mechanism are important for cancer therapy. .... Our findings reveal a previously unrecognized role of zeste homologue 2 (EZH2) in cancer-related translational regulation.
For Fun
In most cases, how much smaller are viruses than bacteria?
(answer next week!)
180 times smaller
140 times smaller
90 times smaller
20 times smaller

LAST WEEK QUESTION: "Flaviviridae" refers to a group of viruses whose name come from the word... yellow in Greek, orange in Latin, yellow in Latin, or purple in Latin?

The word “flavi” is Latin for yellow. "Flaviviridae" refers to a group of RNA viruses named after the Yellow Fever virus which belongs to this group.

Read more about the various types of RNA or DNA viruses in our 2020 magazine, "RNA Translated, 2020, the year of the RNA virus," (table 1, page 21).
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