New Developments in RNA Biology: State of the art and future perspectives, RNA Satellite Meeting – 27th FEBS Congress

Under the auspices of FEBS, it was held in Tavira, Portugal, from September 2012, 1st – 4th, the RNA satellite meeting, organized by Prof. Leonor Cancela (CCMAR, University of Algarve) and Prof. Cecília M. Arraiano (ITQB, New University of Lisbon).

This meeting was possible due to the increasing number of Portuguese researchers working in all scientific areas related to RNA. The previous meeting organized by these researchers, the V National RNA Meeting, took place in Carcavelos (5 – 6 November 2009).

The audience of this meeting included over 150 attendees, eukaryotic and prokaryotic biologists of 35 nationalities, who shared the passion for RNA, either in its biogenesis, function, quality control or decay.

rna tavira

The main message conveyed in this meeting was that the RNA molecule plays different regulatory roles in all forms of life. It is involved in different human diseases, in bacterial pathogenesis and in the regulation of the mechanisms that bacteria use to withstand the host defences and phage infections. The expanding universe of functional RNAs, which is emerging due to the continuous development of RNAseq techniques, will certainly shed some light on our understanding of many biological processes.

The focus of the meeting was on “New Developments in RNA Biology”. The workshop conveyed a fruitful dialog between the attendees and experts coming different areas of RNA Biology, both from the eukaryote and prokaryote world. In depth lectures covering (a) Transcription, (b) Ribosomal RNA/tRNA, (c) RNA structure, (d) RNA degradation and quality control, and (e) Small RNAs, and showed the top-tear research of the field. This meeting was able to unite in an idyllic venue, cutting-edge science, social interactions and a fruitful networking. Among the exceptional lectures that the program had to offer, the lecture by the 2009 Nobel Prize laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan on “Unravelling the Structure of the Ribosome”, told us about how structural biology, bioinformatics and microbiology can be put together to enlighten one on the most complex and well regulated cell events, the translation of a messenger RNA, using the prokaryotic model Escherichia coli. Gisela Storz showed us how E. coli regulates the stationary phase sigma factor by the 6S RNA and Poul Valentin-Hasen, told us about the roles played by the RNA chaperone Hfq in riboregulation and stability of sRNAs. Portuguese researchers were also invited to present their research. Jorge Leitão enumerated the different roles of Hfq in bacterial virulence while Cecília Arraiano, in one of the most attended lectures, presented the different molecular functions of the bacterial RNase II.

por Christian Ramos

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