This piece was written live during the 5th annual RNA Symposium: Processing RNA. Follow us on Twitter or the tag #umichrna
Live Blogger: Chloe Rybicki-Kler
Editor: Emily Glass
Welcome to Dr. Brenda Bass, a senior professor of Biochemistry at the University of Utah. Dr. Bass worked with Dr. Cheque on enzymatic binding sites during her PhD and will be talking to us about self- and non-self detection of mRNA.
When Dr. Brenda Bass began studying long double-stranded RNA (ldsRNA) during her post-doc, it was known that the only time that cells contain dsRNA was after viral infection. After infection, binding proteins attach to viral dsRNA, forming an “SOS”-like signal that initiates an immune response.
Dr. Bass and others had stumbled on some but not all dsRNAs, and thus began compiling the LONG dsRNAome. The self-sequences were found primarily in introns and UTRs (untranslated regions) of protein-coding genes.
Three -omes were considered in the thinking through of the self/non-self identification question – mouse, human, and C. elegans. Later, Drosophila would replace C. elegans as the invertebrate model due to difficulties transitioning from in vivo to in vitro studies of invertebrate dsRNA detection machinery.
Even now, we don’t know the function of many of these ldsRNAs, but we do know that if cells don’t pay attention to these sequences there are consequences for the immune response to viral infection.
Continue reading “Dr. Brenda Bass: Distinguishing self and non-self dsRNA in vertebrates and invertebrates”