SSA - Determining the mechanism of non-coding nodal RNA function in early zebrafish embryos

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: School of Life Sciences


RNAs regulate many biological processes in organisms, either by coding for proteins or as non-coding RNAs. Some RNAs have been found to have both roles. How such RNAs function is not well understood. Nodal genes encode signalling growth factor proteins with essential functions in many animals. In addition, a novel non-coding activity was found in the 3' un-translated region (3'UTR) of zebrafish nodal/squint RNA, which when over-expressed, leads to increased number of cells that will give rise to the head and spine in zebrafish embryos.
Previous work form the Sampath laboratory identified the region of the 3'UTR that harbours the non-coding activity. This activity is independent of dicer and microRNA function and Nodal signaling, but requires an intact Wnt/beta-catenin pathway function.
Using RNA-affinity columns for pull downs from zebrafish embryos and proteomics, a set of proteins that binds to the non-coding region of nodal 3'UTR has been identified. These include candidate proteins in the Wnt/beta catenin pathway. How the proteins regulate non-coding nodal RNA function is not known.
The project will focus on the role of one of the proteins in non-coding nodal RNA localization, function and early zebrafish development.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M01116X/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1642932 Studentship BB/M01116X/1 05/10/2015 30/09/2019 Yin Ho Vong
Description Public science evening 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Warwick WQP public science evening was held on may1, 2019. The theme was "Bad cell service" and My group participated by presenting a poster on Cell signalling and organ positioning to demonstrate how disruptions in cell-cell communication can lead to syndromes where positioning of organs such as the heart and liver is affected. We also conducted tours of our imaging facilities. A number of school teachers, students and general public attended the event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019