Guest Speaker – Dr. Zasha Weinberg

Dr. Zasha Weinberg
Department of Computer Science, Leipzig University

Computational discovery of novel classes of bacterial non-coding RNAs

Thursday, 8th February 2018
12.30 pm
TU Darmstadt, lecture hall: B261/102

Abstract: The discovery of new classes of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) can reveal information about the biological processes that involve these ncRNAs as well as yielding general insights into RNA biochemistry and gene regulation. Riboswitch RNAs directly sense a metabolite and regulate genes accordingly. We devised a strategy to find riboswitches that have evolved specificity to a new metabolite ligand. Such specificity changes are well known in proteins, but only a few examples are known in RNA. I will also describe a more general search strategy for novel structured ncRNAs on a multi-genome/metagenome scale. This search revealed 224 novel ncRNAs of various types. I will also show computational predictions that have been experimentally confirmed.