The Laboratoire de génomique fonctionnelle de l'Université de Sherbrooke, created in January 2003, is located in the Centre de développement des biotechnologies (CDB) de Sherbrooke. The Laboratory is funded by grants from Genome Canada, Genome Quebec, the CIHR and the Université de Sherbrooke. In 2005, the Laboratoire de génomique fonctionnelle de l'Université de Sherbrooke was awarded Genome Canada/Genome Quebec Competition III funding for a four-year study of alternative splicing (AS) in cancer related genes
One persistent challenge of post genome biology remains the determination of the functions of all potential genes. In mammals this task is formidable given that a single gene can produce numerous protein isoforms through alternative pre-mRNA splicing. Protein isoforms from a single gene can have diverse, and in some cases antagonistic, functions. AS plays a pivotal biological role in protein diversity and developmental regulation. It is now believed that AS occurs in up to 74% of human genes, making it more of a rule than an exception. AS has vast implications in human disease: The proportion of genetic mutations implicating AS has grown steadily from a first estimate of 15% of all annotated genetic disease-causing mutations a decade ago. Well-known diseases attributed to defects in AS include cystic fibrosis, thallasemia, spinal muscular atrophy, and several forms of cancer. In spite of their imposing biological relevance, very little is known about the individual functions of AS isoforms, and even less is known about the mechanisms that control AS.
The Laboratoire de génomique fonctionnelle de l'Université de Sherbrooke has developed the LISA platform (Layered and Integrated system for Splicing isoform Annotation). This platform allows high throughput annotation and functional analysis of AS in humans. Using cancer-related genes as targets, the Laboratory has undertaken a systematic investigation of splice isoforms. The study comprises high throughput, tissue specific AS annotation and functional characterization of alternative isoforms following specific inhibition using siRNA or antisense techniques for the reprogramming of splicing. This work aims to elucidate the mechanism of cancer related AS, and will lead to the identification and characterization of validated novel anti-cancer targets suitable for diagnostic and drug discovery applications.
See our promotional video explaining the LISA Platform.
The Laboratoire de génomique fonctionnelle de l'Université de Sherbrooke currently offers high throughput RT-PCR services for gene profiling and microarray validation to academic and industrial researchers. Please visit the RNomics Platform for more information.