MicroRNAs and other small RNAs are now recognized as key regulators of various cellular processes but their specific functions are largely unknown. We combine computational and experimental approaches to study the repertoire, biological roles and evolution of small RNAs in animals and plants. In the nematode C. elegans we study how miRNAs contribute to the development, homeostasis, stress responce and aging. In the flatworm Macrostomum lignano – an emerging model organism for regeneration and stem cell research – we are developing genomic tools and resources, including de novo genome sequencing and annotation, to study roles of small RNAs in the maintenance and differentiation of neoblasts (see www.macgenome.org for details).
About the research
Isik, M., Korswagen, H.C., and Berezikov, E. (2010) Expression patterns of intronic microRNAs in Caenorhabditis elegans. Silence 1, 5.
Berezikov, E. Liu, N., Flynt, A.S., Hodges, E., Rooks, M. Hannon, G.J., and Lai, E.C. (2010) Evolutionary flux of canonical microRNAs and mirtrons in Drosophila. Nat. Genet. 42, 6-9.
de Wit, E., Linsen, S.E., Cuppen, E., and Berezikov, E. (2009) Repertoire and evolution of miRNA genes in four divergent nematode species. Genome Res. 19, 2064-2074.
Berezikov, E., Thuemmler, F., van Laake, L., Kondova, I., Bontrop, R., Cuppen, E., Plasterk, R.H.A. (2006) Diversity of microRNAs in human and chimpanzee brain. Nat. Genet. 38: 1375-1377.
Berezikov, E., Guryev, V., van de Belt, J., Wienholds, E., Plasterk, R.H.A, Cuppen, E. (2005) Phylogenetic shadowing and computational identification of human microRNA genes. Cell 120: 21-24.