Jörg Hackermüller1,2,3, The Ribolution Project Consortium4
1Young Investigators Group Bioinformatics and Transcriptomics, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Leipzig, Germany;2RNomics group, Fraunhofer IZI, Leipzig, Germany; 3Department of Computer Science, University of Leipzig, Germany; 4www.ribolution.org
Large-scale transcriptome projects such as ENCODE and FANTOM have dramatically changed our view of mammalian genome organization: The bulk of the genome is transcribed – but most of these transcripts do not code for proteins. Many of these non-protein coding RNAs (ncRNAs), in particular long ncRNAs, display specific expression patterns that depended strongly on cell type, tissue, and developmental timing, hinting at a functional role of these transcripts and suggesting their use as biomarkers.
The R & D consortium “Ribolution – Innovative Ribonucleic acid-based Diagnostic Solutions for Personalized Medicine” aims at identifying and validating short and long non-coding and coding RNA biomarkers for various diseases. Ribolution strongly relies on deep strand specific transcriptome sequencing, followed by validation in larger cohorts using custom arrays and qPCR. For chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) Ribolution aims at whole blood biomarkers that predict disease progression, characterized by decline of lung function. In prostate carcinoma the consortium develops biomarkers for the discrimination of aggressive versus indolent forms of the disease. In summary, our results support the concept that long non-coding RNA expression in blood and tissue samples is a promising source of diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers.
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