It's beginning to look a lot like an RNA world! Observations by our lab and others have shown that non-coding RNAs, both long and short forms, can epigenetically regulate gene expression. These findings suggest that the once held dogma that RNA functions as an information transfer medium between DNA and protein may be incomplete. Our lab is interested in determining how non-coding RNAs regulate gene expression and dictate the epigenetic state of the genome. Specifically we wish to apply this knowledge to the silencing of HIV-1, cancer oncogenes, and the targeted modulation of tumor suppressor genes. We are also interested in discerning to what extent non-coding RNAs are functining as agents of natural selection driving the epigenetic state of the human cell.
Ongoing projects in the Morris lab include: mechanistic determination of small and long non-coding RNA medaited transcriptional gene silencing (TGS) and epigenetic gene regualtion in human cells, transcriptional gene silencing of HIV-1 and oncogenes involved in Human cell cancers, utilizling RNAi to target regulatory non-coding RNAs to activate gene expression, i.e. suppressing non-coding RNA suppressors, and gene therapy approaches to treating HIV-1 including the use of both sin and mobilization competent vectors lentiviral vectors to parasitize HIV-1.
|Model of TGSilencing||Model of TGActivation|