Prof. Yael Mandel-Gutfreund.
Predicting the unexpected: transcription factor-RNA interactions in pluripotency and differentiation.
Transcriptional regulation is known to play a pivot role in pluripotency and differentiation. However, much less is known about the role of post-transcriptional regulation in these processes. In recent years, accumulating evidence supports the involvement of RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) and noncoding RNAs in embryonic stem cell regulation and in reprogramming. Specifically, it has been shown that long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are involved in activation and repression of pluripotency-related genes via epigenetic and transcriptional regulation. I will describe high throughput computational and experimental approaches employed in our lab to systematically search for novel proteins and lncRNA involved in pluripotency. Finally, I will present novel findings on the association between the STAT3 (signal transducer and activator of transcription 3) transcription factors and the lncRNA NORAD (non-coding RNA activated by DNA damage) in human pluripotent cells. Based on these unexpected findings, we propose that non-coding RNAs may contribute to stemness by directly interacting with core regulatory proteins, possibly acting as co-factors to modulate and fine-tune the transcriptional program of their target gene