CPSC Lecture by Sebastian Marquardt – University of Copenhagen

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CPSC Lecture by Sebastian Marquardt

Rules and Roles of Long Non-Coding RNA (lncRNA) Transcription

Sebastian Marquardt, Young Investigator at Copenhagen Plant Science Centre and Assistant Professor at Section for Molecular Plant Biology, PLEN will give a CPSC Lecture on 10 December. The topic is "Rules and Roles of Long Non-Coding RNA (lncRNA) Transcription".

Complex organisms often have large genomes but most DNA does not code for proteins (non-coding DNA). RNA polymerase II (Pol II) transcribes non-coding DNA into long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) on a genome-wide scale. Despite abundant lncRNA transcription it is not clear how this is functionally important, yet these processes suggest previously unrecognized functions of non-coding DNA.

Our research focuses on characteristics of lncRNA transcription common to a wide range of organisms to elucidate the core concepts. Transcription in the opposite direction to genes from promoters represents a conserved source of lncRNA (divergent lncRNA). This common origin enables us to discover over-arching principles underlying their production, for example as mutants in genetic screens that over-express or reduce divergent lncRNA production. Discovery of the rules underlying divergent lncRNA biogenesis enables us loss-of-function approaches to address the functional significance of non-coding transcription across organisms.

An important common characteristic of lncRNA is their transcriptional plasticity, in response to changing environments or across different cell types. We are interested in if and how these rapid changes of the transcription landscape confer advantages when coping with environmental fluctuations. Chromatin organization and information gathered during Pol II transcription appear to be important for these mechanisms. I will highlight how lncRNA transcription affects the Biology of flowering-time regulation in Arabidopsis. Our functional dissection of non-coding sequences promises to discover novel paradigms of organizing genomic information.

About Sebastian Marquardt:
Sebastian Marquardt is a Young Investigator at Copenhagen Plant Science Centre (CSPC) and Assistant Professor at Section for Molecular Plant Biology at Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen.

He holds a PhD in Biological Sciences from John Innes Centre, Norwich UK and was awarded the “John Innes Foundation Award for Scientific Excellence” for most successful PhD of the year, 2010.

Before joining the CPSC he worked as a postdoc at Harvard Medical School, Boston in the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology and as a visiting scientist at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, USA. During his time in the US, Sebastian Marquardt was, furthermore, a Feodor Lynen Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Recently Sebastian Marquardt has received a Hallas-Møller grant from the Novo Nordic Foundation of 11 million DKK for the project “Functional dissection of long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) transcription”.

Sebastian Marquardt's lab.

10 December 2015, 15:00-16:00

Thorvaldsensvej 40, 1871 Frederiksberg C, lecture room A2-70-04