Ramesh Pillai Group
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology - Faculty of Science, University of Geneva
Project at a glance
Gene regulation by small noncoding RNAs and RNA modifications
Our lab is interested in studying mechanisms by which eukaryotic genomes control gene expression.
One of the long-standing interests is in understanding by the biogenesis and function of small noncoding RNAs called Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) which are expressed in animal germlines. These ∼30 nt RNAs associate with Argonaute proteins called PIWIs to mediate silencing of mobile genetic elements or transposons, thereby ensuring genome integrity and fertility. Current efforts are directed towards obtaining biochemical and structural information on piRNA biogenesis machineries, and in understanding how mammalian piRNAs can specify target genomic loci for DNA methylation.
We are also interested in understanding how RNA modifications are used for regulating gene expression. In particular, we are exploring the physiological roles of writers, readers and erasers of the abundant internal RNA modification N6-methyladenosine (m6A).
Research in the lab uses interdisciplinary approaches and different model systems, including flies and mice.