Explorations of evolution and adaptive regulation by testis-specific hairpin RNA-target interaction networks across insect genomes


Our recent study on the testis-specific Drosophila long hairpin RNA derived endogenous small interfering RNAs (hpRNA) pathway showed, for the first time, that this class of endo-siRNAs co-evolve with and adaptively regulate their protein-coding gene targets and causes severe phenotypic defects in sperm development and male fertility. Given this promising result of hpRNA endo-siRNAs’ significant impact on animal evolution and development, it is essential to fully understand this system: we will investigate whether similar roles occur in other Drosophila clades and analogous systems in mammals. As many hpRNAs are newly evolved, a broader phylogeny will be needed to study small RNA evolution and adaptive regulation, beyond the model organisms. We will develop computational approaches to gain a full picture of how this unique class of small RNAs evolves, works and functionally impacts on the animal.

Recent papers from this project:

Wen J., Duan H., Bejarano F., Okamura K., Lacramioara F., Julie B., Bortolamiol-Becet D., Martin R., Ruby JG and Lai EC. Adaptive regulation of testis gene expression and control of male fertility by the Drosophila hairpin RNA pathway. Molecular Cell, (2015) 57(1):165-78. IF 15.05

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Wen J., Mohammed J, Tsai H, Robine N, Westholm JO, Ladewig E, Bortolamiol-Becet D, Dai Q, Okamura K, Flynt AS, Zhang D, Andrews J, Cherbas L, Kaufman TC, Cherbas P, Siepel A and Lai EC. Diversity of miRNAs, siRNAs and piRNAs across 25 Drosophila cell lines. Genome Research, (2014) 24(7), 1236-1250. IF 15.57.

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If you are interested in this project, please contact me:  jiayu.wen@anu.edu.au


Professor Eric Lai's Lab (Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York, USA)

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