[Seminar] Dong Cao, Detection of circular RNAs in the neurons of C. elegans
Speaker: Dong Cao, Information Processing Biology Unit
Title: Detection of Circular RNAs in the Neurons of C. elegans
In addition to linear messenger RNA (mRNA) and non-coding RNA (ncRNA), circular RNA (circRNA) is recognized as another category of transcripts for eukaryotic genes. circRNAs have been related to diverse functions in different physiological environments, including interactions with microRNAs (miRNAs) and RNA-binding proteins. It has been shown that circRNAs are enriched in the brain tissues of several species (human, mice, flies, etc.) and some specific circRNAs are conserved across species, suggesting their potential roles in the nervous system. However, due to the diversity of circRNAs and the complexity of the nervous system, our understanding of circRNAs in the nervous system is still limited. As an excellent model animal, Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) has a lot of research advantages related to gene functions due to the simplicity of its nervous system, its relatively small genome size, complete connectome, variety of available mutants, etc. These features are also advantageous when investigating circRNAs. Currently, no tissue-specific or cell-type-specific circRNA profile is available for C. elegans, which limits further investigation of circRNAs. We bridged the gap by providing the first neuronal circRNA profile in the first larval stage (L1) worms. In this seminar, I will talk about how we got enough neuron samples from the tiny worms and the processes circRNAs are identified from RNA-seq data. Our data showed that circRNAs are also enriched in the neurons of C. elegans, with more circRNAs identified and higher abundances. Interestingly, rather than simple accumulation, some circRNAs showed dynamical levels during development from egg stage to L1 and L4 stages, suggesting the existence of regulation mechanisms.
The seminar will be followed by the discussion with free soft drinks and pizza!