Binding Sites for LIN28 Protein Found in Thousands of Human Genes

A study led by researchers at the UC San Diego Stem Cell Research program and funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) looks at an important RNA binding protein called LIN28, which is implicated in pluripotency and reprogramming as well as in cancer and other diseases.  According to the researchers, their study – published in the September 6 online issue of Molecular Cell – will change how scientists view this protein and its impact on human disease.

Studying embryonic stem cells and somatic cells stably expressing LIN28, the researchers defined discrete binding sites of LIN28 in 25 percent of human transcripts.  In addition, splicing-sensitive microarrays demonstrated that LIN28 expression causes widespread downstream alternative splicing changes – variations in gene products that can result in cancer or other diseases.
Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Graduate Program coauthors are Ph.D. candidate Stephanie Huelga, alumnus Kasey R. Hutt, and Prof. Gene Yeo.