BBSRC DTG studentship: The role of non-coding RNA transcription in immunoglobulin rearrangement and antibody diversity

Lead Research Organisation: Babraham Institute
Department Name: UNLISTED


Until recently it was believed that the only function of DNA was to encode RNA transcripts that were then translated into proteins used by the body. However it is now known that less than 10% of the DNA sequence copied (expressed) into RNA actually makes proteins. Of the rest, some is ‘junk’ RNA, but many examples are coming to light of important functions for this ‘non-coding RNA’ (RNA that doesn’t make protein) in regulating expression of ‘coding RNA’ (RNA that does make protein), and also in other functions including DNA rearrangement. We have found that many non-coding RNA transcripts are generated from the immunoglobulin DNA sequences that make antibodies that fight infection. The aim of this project is to understand the function of one of these RNA transcripts, which we believe has an important role in bringing different groups of genes within the large multigene immunoglobulin DNA sequences in close proximity, to enable them to be cut and pasted together in many different combinations to generate the millions of different antibodies required by the immune system to fight infection.


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