• New regulatory roles for long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs): antisense transcripts and their mechanism of action as gene expression modulators, specially acting as epigenetic regulators at the chromatin level in both physiological and disease state. In many instances, these lncRNAs function by interacting and guiding chromatin remodelling complexes (including both DNA and histone modifiers) towards their target sites in the genome to exert gene activating or repressing roles. Their dysregulation is at the basis of a variety of pathologies, including cancer.

 

  • Oncofetal lncRNAs:  function of certain lncRNAs in maintaining undifferentiated, highly proliferative states during  normal tissue development and how their expression is reactivated in cancer to sustain cancer cell stemness. 

 

  • RNA-RNA interactions and their impact in fundamental cellular processes, such as microRNA biogenesis. A variety of proteins can fine-tune the processing and maturation of specific miRNA sequences both in the nucleus and the cytoplasm. The team investigates how certain lncRNAs can also influence miRNA production through direct RNA-RNA interaction by enhancing or interfering with the Microprocessor machinery.

 

  • Molecular basis of Rett Syndrome: profile of the alterations in the noncoding transcriptome contributing to this severe neurodevelopmental disease. The brain is the tissue where the RNA-dependent regulatory mechanisms display their highest level of complexity.  Both murine and human models of the syndrome are used to investigate how changes in specific ncRNA species help define the physiopathology of the syndrome.