Découverte et étude d'ARN noncodants régulateurs bactériens et humains

 

Jonathan Perreault

Institut national de la recherche scientifique

 

Domaine : maladies infectieuses et immunitaires

Programme chercheurs-boursiers - Junior 1

Concours 2014-2015

In addition to stocking hereditary information, DNA and RNA are now recognized as having diverse functions. Living organisms have numerous RNAs that control many different cell processes. A remarkable diversity of functional RNAs was found in bacteria in recent years. One of the driving force of these discoveries is the large amount of DNA sequences of bacterial genomes in public databases. Exploiting these data with bioinformatics tools enabled the discovery of many fascinating RNAs. RNA is one of the most important antibiotics targets.

Indeed, some recently discovered RNAs were used as targets in the development of promising new antibiotics. This particular RNA is a riboswitch. Riboswitches have a domain that bind specifically a chemical molecule which allows bacteria to sense and adapt to their surroundings, like a thermostat or a smoke detector. We have developed techniques to find riboswitches, which we will use to uncover these RNAs in 20 of the worst human pathogens. We already found one and it will, with the discoveries that will follow, permit further research to develop ways of destabilizing these pathogens via there riboswitches.

In parallel, some aspects of our methodology will also permit the development of "custom riboswitches" for the detection of dangerous agents, such as sarin or pathogenic bacteria. These same riboswitches could be adapted to develop antimicrobial treatments and even anticancer treatments.