Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are noncoding long (>100 bases) single- stranded RNAs that have burst onto the scene as major regulators of gene expression. MicroRNAs, are about 22 base long single-stranded RNAs that came to the fore about a decade back and this laboratory has been among the pioneers that demonstrated the roles of several microRNAs in the differentiation of skeletal muscle myoblasts to myotubes. We now propose to use our expertise in the role of RNAs in muscle differentiation to determine the mechanism by which one particular muscle- differentiation-induced (MDI) lncRNA, MUNC, regulates gene expression and promotes muscle differentiation.
Aim 1 will test the hypothesis that MUNC is essential for muscle differentiation because of its role in either regulating the binding or the expression of critical myogenic transcription factors as a constituent of novel protein complexes involved in gene regulation.
Aim 2 will carry out structure function studies on mouse and human MUNC to test the hypothesis that evolutionarily conserved domains exist in this lncRNA that are critical for its mechanism of action.
Aim 3 will identify new protein and DNA partners of MUNC to identify functions of MUNC independent of Myogenic transcription factors.
This Aim will also identify additional lncRNAs that are induced during muscle differentiation and integrate their role in differentiation with that of MUNC and MyoD. This is an exciting project that involves the collaboration of a molecular biologist with a skeletal muscle physiologist. It wil use new experimental reagents such as lncRNAs and state-of-the-art approaches like ChIRP. LC-MS-MS, SILAC and ChiRP-seq to discover the mechanism of action of one lncRNA in control of cell-type specificity. Since our preliminary results identify tens of novel lncRNAs induced during differentiation, at least some of which already implicated in differentiation, success of this project will launch a prolonged investigation of several lncRNAs in this very important paradigm of differentiation.

Public Health Relevance

Long noncoding RNAs are new molecules whose global relevance in regulation of biology has come to our attention over the last 3-4 years. They play an important role in many cellular functions, particularly gene expression. Long noncoding RNAs, because of their ability to modulate pathways of differentiation, are useful for directing stem cells down specific paths of differentiation. We will investigate how one Muscle-Differentiation-Induced (MDI) lncRNA regulates the differentiation of skeletal muscle myoblasts. Our results will facilitate the adoption of these RNAs and their inhibitors to regulate the proliferation/differentiation of skeletal muscle myoblasts for regenerative medicine. Equally important, the results will begin to explain how lncRNAs are integrated with protein-encoded transcription factors as regulators of differentiation

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Molecular Genetics A Study Section (MGA)
Program Officer
Boyce, Amanda T
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Virginia
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Kiran, Manjari; Chatrath, Ajay; Tang, Xiwei et al. (2018) A Prognostic Signature for Lower Grade Gliomas Based on Expression of Long Non-Coding RNAs. Mol Neurobiol :
Cichewicz, Magdalena A; Kiran, Manjari; Przanowska, RĂ³?a K et al. (2018) MUNC, an eRNA upstream from the MYOD gene, induces a subgroup of myogenic transcripts in trans, independently of MyoD. Mol Cell Biol :
Reon, Brian J; Takao Real Karia, Bruno; Kiran, Manjari et al. (2018) LINC00152 Promotes Invasion through a 3'-Hairpin Structure and Associates with Prognosis in Glioblastoma. Mol Cancer Res 16:1470-1482