Scientific sessions, CRG Group Leader Seminars
Regulation of Alternative pre-mRNA Splicing during Cell Differentiation, Development and Disease Group, Gene Regulation, Stem Cells and Cancer Programme, CRG
Juan Valcárcel has been interested in the process of pre-mRNA splicing since the time of his PhD with Juan Ortín at the CBMSO in Madrid. After a postdoc at UMass (Worcester) with Michael Green, he established his lab at EMBL (Heidelberg) in 1996 and moved to the CRG in 2002. His group studies molecular mechanisms of alternative splicing regulation, particularly in genes relevant for cancer progression.
Removal of introns from mRNA precursors (pre-mRNA splicing) is an essential step for the correct expression of eukaryotic genes, and requires one of the most complex molecular machineries of eukaryotic cells, the spliceosome, composed of 5 snRNAs and over 200 protein components. Alternative splicing of mRNA precursors regulates the vast majority of human genes by generating different mRNAs that encode proteins with distinct, sometimes antagonistic functions. Alterations in alternative splicing can impact every hallmark of cancer and can be caused by cancer-associated mutations in splicing regulatory sequences or in splicing factors. In my talk, I will describe our recent efforts to systematically reveal splicing regulatory circuits altered in cancer cells and the potential use of this knowledge to design anti-cancer therapies.