Genome Immunobiology RIKEN Hakubi Research Team
Follow the links below to our recent papers, or email to discuss our team’s ongoing projects.
Immunobiology of Endogenous Viral Elements in Mammals
We are testing the hypothesis that piRNAs or piRNA-like RNAs derived from Endogenous Bornavirus-Like Nucleoprotein Elements (EBLNs) influence bornavirus infection using mice genetically engineered to lack EBLNs or contain novel EBLN-like sequences. We are using bioinformatic approaches to test another prediction of this model: that other uniquely-mapped sequences found in piRNA clusters may have evolved by horizontal gene transfer from viruses (Parrish et al., RNA 2015).
Reverse transcription can stabilize the information content of an RNA molecule into a readily heritable DNA form. Genome sequences acquired via reverse transcription are involved in diverse cellular and organismal processes (Parrish and Tomonaga, Current Opinion in Microbiology 2016), including some as complex as synaptic communication (Parrish and Tomonaga, Cell 2018). Working within the 1000 Genomes Project structural variation working group, we found new examples of such sequences that are variably present in human populations, suggesting that the processes responsible for creating these sequences are ongoing in humans (Sudmant et al., Nature 2015). We are interested in characterizing the contribution of reverse transcribed sequences to mammalian genomes and understanding the functions these sequences enable.
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