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Sartor G.C.,University of Miami | St. Laurent III G.,St Laurent Institute | St. Laurent III G.,University of Antioquia | Wahlestedt C.,University of Miami
Frontiers in Genetics | Year: 2012

Prolonged drug use causes long-lasting neuroadaptations in reward-related brain areas that contribute to addiction. Despite significant amount of research dedicated to understanding the underlying mechanisms of addiction, the molecular underpinnings remain unclear. At the same time, much of the pervasive transcription that encompasses the human genome occurs in the nervous system and contributes to its heterogeneity and complexity. Recent evidence suggests that non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) play an important and dynamic role in transcriptional regulation, epigenetic signaling, stress response, and plasticity in the nervous system. Dysregulation of ncRNAs are thought to contribute to many, and perhaps all, neurological disorders, including addiction. Here, we review recent insights in the functional relevance of ncRNAs, including both microRNAs (miRNAs), and long non-coding RNAs, and then illustrate specific examples of ncRNA regulation in the context of drug addiction. We conclude that ncRNAs are importantly involved in the persistent neuroadaptations associated with addiction-related behaviors, and that therapies that target specific ncRNAs may represent new avenues for the treatment of drug addiction. © 2012 Sartor, St. Laurent III and Wahlestedt.

Magistri M.,University of Miami | Faghihi M.A.,University of Miami | St Laurent G.,St Laurent Institute | Wahlestedt C.,University of Miami
Trends in Genetics | Year: 2012

In the decade following the publication of the Human Genome, noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) have reshaped our understanding of the broad landscape of genome regulation. During this period, natural antisense transcripts (NATs), which are transcribed from the opposite strand of either protein or non-protein coding genes, have vaulted to prominence. Recent findings have shown that NATs can exert their regulatory functions by acting as epigenetic regulators of gene expression and chromatin remodeling. Here, we review recent work on the mechanisms of epigenetic modifications by NATs and their emerging role as master regulators of chromatin states. Unlike other long ncRNAs, antisense RNAs usually regulate their counterpart sense mRNA in cis by bridging epigenetic effectors and regulatory complexes at specific genomic loci. Understanding the broad range of effects of NATs will shed light on the complex mechanisms that regulate chromatin remodeling and gene expression in development and disease. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Dong B.,Temple University | Moore A.R.,Temple University | Dai J.,Temple University | Roberts S.,Temple University | And 4 more authors.
Nucleic Acids Research | Year: 2013

Scalable and efficient production of high-quality recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) for gene therapy remains a challenge despite recent clinical successes. We developed a new strategy for scalable and efficient rAAV production by sequestering the AAV helper genes and the rAAV vector DNA in two different subcellular compartments, made possible by using cytoplasmic vaccinia virus as a carrier for the AAV helper genes. For the first time, the contamination of replication-competent AAV particles (rcAAV) can be completely eliminated in theory by avoiding ubiquitous nonhomologous recombination. Vector DNA can be integrated into the host genomes or delivered by a nuclear targeting vector such as adenovirus. In suspension HeLa cells, the achieved vector yield per cell is similar to that from traditional triple-plasmid transfection method. The rcAAV contamination was undetectable at the limit of our assay. Furthermore, this new concept can be used not only for production of rAAV, but also for other DNA vectors. © 2013 The Author(s) 2013. Published by Oxford University Press.

Sugden L.A.,Brown University | Tackett M.R.,St Laurent Institute | Savva Y.A.,Brown University | Thompson W.A.,Brown University | Lawrence C.E.,Brown University
Bioinformatics | Year: 2013

Motivation: Validation and reproducibility of results is a central and pressing issue in genomics. Several recent embarrassing incidents involving the irreproducibility of high-profile studies have illustrated the importance of this issue and the need for rigorous methods for the assessment of reproducibility. Results: Here, we describe an existing statistical model that is very well suited to this problem. We explain its utility for assessing the reproducibility of validation experiments, and apply it to a genomescale study of adenosine deaminase acting on RNA (ADAR)-mediated RNA editing in Drosophila. We also introduce a statistical method for planning validation experiments that will obtain the tightest reproducibility confidence limits, which, for a fixed total number of experiments, returns the optimal number of replicates for the study. © The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

Laurent G.S.,University of Antioquia | Laurent G.S.,St Laurent Institute | Savva Y.A.,Brown University | Kapranov P.,St Laurent Institute
Frontiers in Genetics | Year: 2012

Perhaps no other topic in contemporary genomics has inspired such diverse viewpoints as the 95+% of the genome, previously known as "junk DNA," that does not code for proteins. Here, we present a theory in which dark matter RNA plays a role in the generation of a landscape of spatial micro-domains coupled to the information signaling matrix of the nuclear landscape. Within and between these micro-domains, dark matter RNAs additionally function to tether RNA interacting proteins and complexes of many different types, and by doing so, allow for a higher performance of the various processes requiring them at ultra-fast rates. This improves signal to noise characteristics of RNA processing, trafficking, and epigenetic signaling, where competition and differential RNA binding among proteins drives the computational decisions inherent in regulatory events. © 2012 St. Laurent, Savva and Kapranov.

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