This proposal requests support for a Keystone Symposia meeting entitled Gene Silencing by Small RNAs, organized by Richard W. Carthew and Olivier Voinnet, which will be held in Vancouver, British Columbia from February 7 - 12, 2012. The impact of small non-coding RNAs has profoundly touched the fields of development and cell biology, functional genomics, human disease, and drug therapy. This mode of gene regulation is not restricted to eukaryotes;bacteria utilize small RNAs, notably those made from CRISPR loci that silence the expression of bacteriophages, transposons and plasmids. Importantly, small non-coding RNAs repress gene expression by affecting the stability and translation of mRNA transcripts to which they bind. They function in germline development to suppress transposon jumping and, therefore, heritable mutagenesis. They also suppress transposon jumping in somatic cells and attenuate expression of proteins during development. It is clear that these RNAs play important roles in development, and have the potential to induce prenatal and postnatal diseases. Therefore, it is important to be able to understand the mechanisms and biology of these non-coding RNAs. There are still many gaps in our knowledge of the mechanisms used by small RNAs, particularly newly discovered RNAs. It has become clear that the field needs an annual forum to enable rapid dissemination of new discoveries between researchers. Overall, the goals of this meeting are 1) to foster the scientific development of junior investigators by promoting interactions between established and newer investigators, and 2) to foster the mixing and sharing of ideas between biochemists, molecular biologists, geneticists, and systems biologists working in the field. We expect the Keystone Symposia meeting on Gene Silencing by Small RNAs will synergize ideas and method breakthroughs in small RNA mechanisms.
Up until about 10 years ago, ribonucleic acids (RNAs) were believed to function primarily by guiding or """"""""coding"""""""" the biosynthesis of proteins. In recent years, small non-coding RNAs have been recognized to play important roles in development, including in prenatal and postnatal diseases. Therefore, it is important to be able to understand the mechanisms and biology of these non-coding RNAs. The Keystone Symposia meeting on Gene Silencing by Small RNAs aims to synergize ideas and method breakthroughs in small RNA mechanisms.