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Jackson Lab Scientist Dr. Zheng Meizhen Lectures on ncRNA in HZAU

During March 21 to 23, 2017, Dr. Zheng Meizhen, a senior research scientist from the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine was invited to HZAU for academic exchange. She has long engaged in research and development of technologies related to 3D genomics, and has undertaken plenty of work with remarkable achievements in the team led by Prof. Ruan Yijun, Distinguished Professor of the Thousand Talent Plan in HZAU.

On the morning of March 22, Dr. Zheng delivered a report titled “RNA-Chromatin Interaction Reveals ncRNA Function for Transcription Regulation in 3D Genome Organization” at the symposium hosted by Prof. Li Guoliang in the College of Informatics, who is listed in the Young Overseas High-level Talents Introduction Plan. It was of tremendous popularity that many professors and students from other colleges including the College of Animal Sciences & Technology, the College of Life Sciences & Technology and the College of Science came to communicate. Floor seating was insufficient for the impassioned and overflowing audience.

In the report, Dr. Zheng explained in vivid detail the basic concepts of the 3D genome and the crucial functions of two non-coding RNAs(ncRNAs) “Xist” and “Firre” in it. The report also suggested that in terms of the interactions between RNA and chromosomes, present studies, due to the rather low throughput, are unlikely to produce a systematic analysis of the many functions of those ncRNAs that cover nearly 75% of the whole genome. However, according to the principle of 6-nt reverse transcription random primers, Dr.Zheng innovated a linker for ligation with RNA in cell nucleus and further spatially proximity connection to the DNA end, contributing to attaining all information of interaction between RNA and chromatin by high-throughput sequencing.

Dr. Zheng proved the accuracy and validity of the methodology through statistical analysis and described the distribution characteristics of the interaction between RNA and chromatin by using multiple analysis results. An amazing result of the research shows that RNA can be specifically bound to transcriptional activation domains and open sites in chromosome and co-localize with RNA polymerase and transcription factors, which plays a vital role in maintaining the chromatin structure. A teacher present said that in general, Dr. Zheng’s research has successfully analyzed the RNA-chromatin interaction in the whole genome through a revolutionary technology and unveiled the significance of RNA in the nucleus to RNA polymerase-mediated chromatin in terms of interaction, gene expression and regulation, 3D genome organization and so on. This high-level report with detailed data inspired attendees, some of whom conducted a lot of discussion with Dr. Zheng and got her brilliant answers. After the meeting, Dr. Zheng conducted further exchanges and discussions with other teachers and highly complimented the research atmosphere and quality of HZAU.

(By Xiong Ying)