Dr. Zhang awarded NIH 1U01 Research Project grant
Circular RNAs and their interactions with RNA-binding proteins to modulate AD-related neuropathology
Dr. Xiaoling Zhang awarded NIH 1U01 Research Project grant
New variants, especially in non-coding regions, are expected to be discovered through the ongoing Alzheimer’s Disease Sequencing Project (ADSP). In 2020, NIA launched the ADSP Functional Genomics Initiative (RFA-AG-21-006) to strengthen the translational pathways leading from genetic variations to potential targets. In collaboration with Dr. Benjamin Wolozin in the Department of Pharmacology, we recently received a NIA U01 award ($3.6M) to identify circular-RNAs and their interactions with RNA-binding proteins to modulate AD-related neuropathology. This is one of the six awarded core projects of the new ADSP Functional Genomics Consortium (ADSP-FGC) which was established in August 2021.
This proposal will investigate circular RNAs (circRNAs) and RNA binding proteins (RBPs) that regulate or are regulated by these circRNAs. Recent genomic studies have discovered thousands of circRNAs produced from both protein-coding genes and non-coding regions of the genome via a process known as back-splicing. The discovery of circRNAs opens an entirely new window into mechanisms of neurodegeneration in AD and related dementias (AD/ADRD). This proposal seeks to identify and characterize disease-linked circRNAs and RBPs, and functional changes in circRNAs or circRNA-RBP interactions that modify ADRD neuropathology or neurodegeneration. Successful discovery of key circRNAs or circRNA-RBP interactions in aging human brains could uncover novel biomarkers, disease mechanisms, or therapeutic targets to diagnose, mediate, or prevent the progression of AD/ADRD. Read More Here