Molecular MedicineTranslational control of cell cycle and differentiation

Translational control of cell cycle and differentiation

Recent years have seen a paradigm shift in our understanding of gene activity and regulation. It is now clear that processing of primary transcripts as well as translational control open a myriad of opportunities for gene regulation, which are extensively used in virtually every human gene. However, how these events are regulated and how alterations of these finely tuned processes contribute to physio/pathological processes is not yet well understood.

The primary interest of our group has been to understand the molecular mechanisms that dictate alternative 3’ UTR formation and the temporal and spatial translational control of specific mRNAs during cell cycle progression and chromosome segregation, senescence and related pathologies. Cell cycle progression is programmed, at least in part, by stored silent mRNAs. These mRNAs are not translated en masse at any one time, or even at any one place; rather, their translation is specifically regulated by sequences located at their 3´-untranslated regions (3´-UTRs) and their binding proteins.

Our work focuses on three main lines of research:

First, to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the translational control by cytoplasmic polyadenylation cis-acting elements and trans-acting factors:
1) Genome-wide identification of the mRNAs that are regulated by nuclear and cytoplasmic changes in their poly(A) tail length;
2) Determination of the configuration of cis-acting elements that define the temporal and spatial translational regulation;
3) Functional and structural characterization of the ribonucleoprotein (RNPs) complexes that mediate this translational regulation.

Second, to obtain insights in how this translational control circuit regulates cell cycle progression by establishing a molecular circuit, stabilized by positive and negative feed-back loops to generate an irreversible self sustain hysteric system with molecular memory and switch-like phase transitions.

Third, to explore the role of these mRNA processing and translation mechanisms in the reprogramming of gene expression in tumoral events and angiogenesis and the development of tools with prognostic and therapeutic value.

Bava FA, Eliscovich C, Ferreira PG, Miñana B, Ben-Dov C, Guigó R, Valcárcel J and Méndez R.
Nature, 7439 (495), 121-5 (2013)
Weill L, Belloc E, Bava FA and Méndez R.
Nat Struct Mol Biol, 6 (19), 577-85 (2012)
Fernández-Miranda G and Méndez R.
Ageing Res Rev, 4 (11), 460-72 (2012)
Ortiz-Zapater E, Pineda D, Martínez-Bosch N, Fernández-Miranda G, Iglesias M, Alameda F, Moreno M, Eliscovich C, Eyras E, Real FX, Méndez R and Navarro P.
Nat Med, 1 (18), 83-90 (2011)

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Group news & mentions

1 Jun 2014

Report on the main approaches being developed by top Spanish scientists of international standing to find new therapeutic options against cancer.

16 Feb 2014

"La Vanguardia" journalist Josep Corbella holds a long interview with IRB Barcelona researcher

26 Jan 2014

The competition "La Vanguardia de la ciencia", organized by the newspaper “La Vanguardia” and the Catalunya - La Pedrera Foundation, has chosen research performed

15 Oct 2013

Eulàlia Belloc, associate researcher in

Upcoming events

03 Sep

Speaker: Ken Sawin,
The Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, University of Edinburgh, UK

19 Sep

Speaker: Prof. René H. Medema,
Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

25 Sep

Speaker: Riccardo Fodde,
PhD, Dept. of Pathology, Erasmus MC Cancer Institute, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Funding

  • AICR (Association for International Cancer Research)
  • ICREA (Catalan Institute of Research and Advanced Studies)
  • Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation)
  • AGAUR (Agència de Gestió d’Ajuts Universitaris i de Recerca)