Doctor of Philosophy, Ruprecht Karl Universitat Heidelberg (2018)
Master of Science, Universita Degli Studi Di Roma (2014)
Bachelor of Science, Universita Degli Studi Di Roma (2012)
Circular RNAs (circRNAs) constitute a family of transcripts with unique structures and still largely unknown functions. Their biogenesis, which proceeds via a back-splicing reaction, is fairly well characterized, whereas their role in the modulation of physiologically relevant processes is still unclear. Here we performed expression profiling of circRNAs during in vitro differentiation of murine and human myoblasts, and we identified conserved species regulated in myogenesis and altered in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. A high-content functional genomic screen allowed the study of their functional role in muscle differentiation. One of them, circ-ZNF609, resulted in specifically controlling myoblast proliferation. Circ-ZNF609 contains an open reading frame spanning from the start codon, in common with the linear transcript, and terminating at an in-frame STOP codon, created upon circularization. Circ-ZNF609 is associated with heavy polysomes, and it is translated into a protein in a splicing-dependent and cap-independent manner, providing an example of a protein-coding circRNA in eukaryotes.
View details for PubMedID 28344082
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5387670
Substitutions, deletions and duplications in the dystrophin gene lead to either the severe Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) or mild Becker muscular dystrophy depending on whether out-of-frame or in-frame transcripts are produced. We identified a DMD case (GSΔ44) where the correlation between genotype and phenotype is not respected, even if carrying a typical Duchenne mutation (exon 44 deletion) a Becker-like phenotype was observed. Here we report that in this patient, partial restoration of an in-frame transcript occurs by natural skipping of exon 45 and that this is due to the lack of Celf2a, a splicing factor that interacts with exon 45 in the dystrophin pre-mRNA. Several experiments are presented that demonstrate the central role of Celf2a in controlling exon 45 splicing; our data point to this factor as a potential target for the improvement of those DMD therapeutic treatments, which requires exon 45 skipping.
View details for DOI 10.1038/ncomms10488
View details for Web of Science ID 000369031500001
View details for PubMedID 26796035
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4736020