QBI - Seminar

Rewriting Genetic Information In the Brains of Cephalopods By Editing mRNAs

QBI presents a seminar with Joshua Rosenthal, a Senior Scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

Dr. Rosenthal received his PhD in Biology from Stanford University and completed his postdoctoral training in biophysics and physiology at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Before going to the MBL, he rose from Assistant to Full Professor at the University of Puerto Rico’s Medical Sciences Campus. Dr. Rosenthal’s research focuses on the process of RNA editing from a variety of angles. His group has shown that mRNA recoding is unusually active in cephalopods. They are interested in what it’s being used for and how the underlying machinery for RNA editing in cephalopods differs from other taxa. Rosenthal leads an initiative at the MBL to create genetically tractable cephalopods to enhance research. The Rosenthal Lab has pioneered the use of RNA editing as a novel vehicle for human therapeutics. Projects in the lab seek to use RNA editing to correct genetic mutations, relieve pain and boost the efficacy of immunotherapies for cancer. Rosenthal is a co-founder of Korro Bio, a publicly traded biotech in Cambridge, Massachusetts that leverages RNA editing to create therapeutics for human disease.

Genetic information's transient residence in mRNA provides a prime opportunity for modification. Changes in DNA are permanent and perilous; those in RNA go away, making them safer. There are a variety of systems for altering RNA in cells. Alternative splicing, of course, is a well-studied example. Dr. Rosenthal's lab focuses on RNA editing through adenosine deamination, a system for introducing point mutations within RNA. All multicellular metazoans edit their mRNA, but cephalopods take it to a new level, particularly in their nervous system. In his talk he will discuss how cephalopods use RNA editing, the messages that they target, where editing takes place within neurons, and how it can respond to environmental cues. Finally, based on new data using the first genetically tractable cephalopod model and CRISPR, he will show how a novel RNA editing enzyme isoform is driving the high-level cephalopod recoding.

Talk Title: Rewriting Genetic Information In the Brains of Cephalopods By Editing mRNAs

Host: Jack Moen & Vijay Ramani

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