Quantitative methods in gene regulation

21 January 2016
h. 12.30
Room G23
Via Golgi

Michele Caselle
Department of physics, University of Turin

Understanding gene regulation is a central issue of modern molecular biology. As for many other complex biological problems it can only be addressed by combining experimental studies and a variety of theoretical tools, ranging from network  theory to stochastic analysis, to information theory.

In this talk I will discuss, as an example of this interdisciplinary strategy, the role, within the regulatory network, of a class of genes  known as microRNAs. These genes are involved in a set regulatory circuits (usually called "regulatory motifs") which play important functional roles in the cell and are thus under strong positive selection in the human regulatory network.

In this talk I will address this issue in three steps. First I will start with a short pedagogical introduction to the organization of Eukaryotic genomes  and to the mechanisms of gene regulation. Then in the second part I will  discuss, using both stochastic equations and bioinformatic tools,  the role played by microRNAs in the regulatory network and finally in the  third part I will show how, using a combination of multiplex analysis and information theory, one can extract from the regulatory network a set of  candidate "cancer driver genes" i.e. genes related  to cancer insurgence and progression.

published on 1/12/2016