Gustavo Turecki, M.D., Ph.D., Douglas Hospital Research Institute, McGill University
Distinguished Investigator Grant (2009): $99,500
Differential microRNA (µRNA) Expression in the Prefrontal Cortex of Suicides
Abstract: This state-of-the-art genomic study will identify µRNA differences in prefrontal brain cortex of depressed suicides as compared to appropriate controls. µRNAs are non-coding, small, single stranded, 21-base RNA transcripts that play an important role in the posttranscriptional regulation messengerRNA (mRNA) thus playing a major role in the regulation of a large number of genes, including those expressed in the brain. A global profiling of expression patterns of µRNA levels in the orbital prefrontal cortex in 40 depressed suicide subjects and 40 psychiatrically normal controls will be done. The results of the global profiling analysis will be used for bioinformatics analysis to determine specific µRNA targets for validation, subsequent investigation and functional characterization. This study will facilitate our understanding of molecular mechanisms associated with the regulation of brain gene activity and how these mechanisms could be related to major depression and suicide. µRNA may, in fact, be an important regulating mechanism in the biological processes associated with suicide, and could lead to new biological markers, therapeutic targets and ultimately prevention.
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