Imig Lab

Imig Lab

Systems Biology of LncRNA and MiRNA Networks in Cancer


The research group of Dr. Jochen Imig is investigating lncRNA-miRNA networks in cancer in a systems wide fashion. The current and future research focus lays on RNA Biology with respect to functional aspects of non-coding RNAs. More specifically, we aim to uncover post-transcriptional networks between lncRNA and miRNAs in diverse cancer entities by our recently developed method miR-CLIP to identify whole targetomes of selected miRNAs. Moreover, we intend to fully exploit the potential of this methodology by its modification for direct miRNA target site identification or enrichment for other ncRNA species. There is a dense regulatory interplay between lncRNAs/microRNAs and RNA binding proteins (RBPs) with potential implications for cancer pathogenesis. Our group is focusing in identifying functional RBP/RNA network to advance our knowledge about molecular mechanisms in cancer.

We expect that developing (or improving existing methods) will always fuel unprecedented insights into novel biology so we can anticipate the expected outcomes of our research as a hypothesis generator and to further deepen our knowledge.

Other laboratory research interests are the interaction machinery of RNA-binding protein (RBPs) as important generators of post-transcriptional operons guiding gene regulation in response to various cellular stimuli and pathophysiological conditions. Additionally, we will cover the more and more imminent theme - especially related to cancer biology- the decoding of the epi-and transcriptome with emphasis to miRNAs in melanoma. For this purpose, the combinatorial application of global PAR-CLIP and miR-CLIP approaches to fully understand and dissect functions of selected RBP and miRNA binding sites with the help of CRISPR/Cas9 targeted knout-out genome editing tools will be applied. Our vision is to define and better understand the regulatory landscape of important cancer-related miRNAs with their lncRNA interactome as functional networks with potential future prospects of therapeutic approaches such as to open the “dark matter” of human non-coding transcripts for RNA druggability strategies in cancer and other diseases.

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