Evolutionary Blooming of RNAi

Claudia M. Hernandez- Chavez, and Juris A. Grasis, PhD School of Natural Sciences, University of California, Merced 95348

The innate immune system is a primary defense against pathogens. By utilizing comparative genomic techniques and analyzing the genomes of animals on the basis of evolution, the goal is to explore the potential that innate antiviral genes in the RNAi pathway have existed since the precambrian era in Basal Metazoans.The RNA Interference pathway is able to recognize RNA molecules and neutralize targeted viral RNA molecules, therefore inhibiting their expression. It is also responsible for the mediation of the RNA- induced silencing complex (RISC), a process that is essential to gene regulation and defense against viral infections. The components of RNAi that will be further examined via comparative genomics (such as NCBI Blast, Orthofinder and IQTree) include Dicer (trims dsRNA to miRNA or siRNA), Argonaute (cleaves miRNA or siRNA to prevent translation), and Aubergine (a binding protein that silences transposons). Through the construction of these phylogenetic trees, we will provide a better understanding of where these genes arose in animal evolution and how they have managed to be conserved over time. Ultimately, this information can be applied as a basis of understanding for the innate immune systems of larger vertebrate animals, such as Homo sapiens, upon further exploration. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Claudia Hernandez-Chavez

Institution: University of California - Merced

Type: Poster

Subject: Biology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 3
Date/Time: Mon 4:30pm-5:30pm
Session Number: 3031