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The role of epitranscriptome and translational dysregulation in cancer

Proteins represent the final product of genes and are implicated in governing most cellular functions. Production of proteins from genes is referred to as gene expression. Genes are first transcribed into messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA). This is followed by mRNA translation, a process whereby the translation machinery reads the code stored in the mRNAs to produce proteins. In addition, mRNAs are also regulated by degradation. Malignant transformation is a phenomenon during which normal cells acquire malignant properties to become cancer. Malignant transformation and cancer progression are characterized by dramatic changes in gene expression.

Recent years have brought evidence of dynamic chemical changes in mRNA molecules that have been shown to influence gene expression. These modifications are induced by factors called “writers”, removed by factors called “erasers”, and recognized by factors called “readers”. Levels and/or function of “writers”, “erasers”, and “readers” are reported to be altered in a variety of cancers, but their precise role in dysregulation of gene expression in cancer remains poorly understood. This project will investigate the contribution of mRNA modifications in cancer by employing a unique combination of recently developed systems of biology technologies and classical cellular and molecular biology techniques.

The partners implementing this project are the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research of McGill University (Montreal), the Sheba Cancer Research Centre (Israel), and the A.C. Camargo Cancer Centre (Brazil).

This project was selected for funding through the third research competition of the Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program, a partnership between IDRC, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Israel Science Foundation, and the Azrieli Foundation.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
36 months
IDRC Officer
Fabiano Santos
Total Funding
CA$ 659,000.00
Institution Country
Project Leader
Ivan Topisirovic
The Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital / Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux du Centre-Ouest-de-l'île-de-Montréal

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