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The liver maintains the body’s energy homeostasis by controlling carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. To this end, cells of the liver tissue (hepatocytes) transduce extracellular nutrient and hormonal signals into intracellular pathways that adjust gene expression patterns in order to respond to given stimuli. The potential of post-transcriptional gene regulation (PTGR) is demonstrated by the poor correlation between the mRNA and protein pools in eukaryotic cells. At the core of PTGR are RNA-binding proteins (RBPs). Through RNA binding domains, these proteins control processing, stability and turnover of gene transcripts as well as non-coding RNAs, both spatially and temporally. Hence, aberrant RNA metabolism in hepatocytes may not only impede proper cell response required for glucose and lipid homeostasis, but also lead to metabolic diseases such as diabetes and atherosclerosis.
Together with our colleagues at Rockefeller University, we study the role of RBPs in the liver. Combining our expertise from bioinformatics, mouse genetics, biochemistry and RNA deep sequencing, we aim to find new pathways involved in glucose and lipid metabolism governed by RBPs.
I am a member of the Markus Stoffel group.
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