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Research Scholarship - 2023

Interactome of transcription factors and microRNAs; miR-21 and miR-17~92a cluster.

Building a non-coding RNA system biology network to identify mechanism pathways in oral cancers
Sarah Stapleton

Project Description

The discovery of MicroRNAs, small non-coding RNAs that regulate specific gene targets, has provided an additional level of complexity to what was understood about gene expression and regulation. MicroRNAs are known to regulate both oncogenes and tumour suppressive genes and therefore play a critical role in the progression of various cancers. This poses the question of how the microRNAs become dysregulated and what impacts their expression levels. One such mechanism that has been identified, is the regulation of microRNAs by other microRNAs. miR-21 is an example of an microRNA that is highly upregulated in Oral cancer and its overexpression leads to dysregulation of other microRNAs in Oral cancer cells. This relationship and other instances of microRNA regulation by microRNA have the potential to lead to significant oncogenic cascades. Therefore, we propose the need to identify the regulatory impact of these relationships on gene expression in Oral cancer. In doing so, we will create a system-wide microRNA:gene:drug interatcome that will enable the identification of mechanistic pathways and potential druggable targets.

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