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Research on RNA interference

Research Achievements

Research on RNA interference

UCR's ChemGen IGERT fosters cross-disciplinary interactions in chemical biology to advance basic and applied research on RNA interference (RNAi). Trainees Elkashef, Dinh and Lii sought small molecules that perturb RNAi processes to understand eukaryotic gene silencing. Elkashef combined biology and chemistry in the identification of four small molecules that suppress different steps of RNAi-mediated host defense of viruses. He demonstrated for the first time that multiple steps of the core RNAi pathway can be targeted for inhibition by small molecules. Three of the compounds identified may be useful in the control of agricultural pests and arthropod vectors. Trainee Dinh identified compounds that inhibit RNAi processes regulating floral development. Her results complemented genetic screen findings. Lii used chemical genomics to approach RNAi processes that regulate plant responses to pathogens. These examples validate the utility of small molecules to elucidate genetic mechanisms.