Circulating extracellular vesicles (EVs) are viewed as an important means of encapsulation and protection for exRNAs in the blood stream, cerebralspinal fluid, urine, and other biofluids. EV-enclosed exRNA signatures may also be valuable diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers. In addition to EVs, other proteins found in biofluids may also be important in the chaperoning of exRNAs such as Argonaut 2 and Nucleophosmin. There are likely to be other RNA-binding proteins involved as well. While this group and many others have demonstrated that EVs carry exRNAs, they also believe that at least two other proteins chaperone exRNAs in biofluids: Heat Shock Protein 10 (HSP10/HSPE1) and Serum Albumin (ALB). These latter discoveries appear to be unique in the field of extracelluar RNAs. This group's hypothesis is that different extracellular circulating RNAs are sequestered in different exocytosed/secreted packages, and that uptake by target cells and regulatory impacts are thus intrinsic properties of the chaperoning elements. This project will focus on identifying exRNAs. The researchers will discern the extracellular/circulating exRNA content of and assess the impacts of these exRNAs first by analyzing deep sequencing data that is already available and then by developing new deep sequencing libraries from both patient samples and model cells.
This group is also looking at the extracellular RNAs found in co-cultures of cancer cells and bacterial cells.
Research by this group was featured on the MSI website in August 2023: Genetic Investigations of SARS-CoV-2.