Learn more about Bernardo's research

'What once was considered junk DNA is now though of as multiple layers of regulation controlling gene expression, translation and protein activity'

Most of our genome is noncoding and gives rise to a multitude of regulatory RNAs. My work aims at particularly adressing the role of ‘long non-coding RNAs’ (lncRNAs) in the development of rodent obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Recent research showed that lncRNAs, when expressed antisense to protein-coding genes, can affect translation of the latter, partly via repetitive RNA motif elements encoded in the lncRNA. Using RNA-Sequencing, we identified a lncRNA antisense to Thioredoxin Interacting Protein (Txnip), an important drug target for improving glucose homeostasis during metabolic disease. By employing CRISPR/Cas9 technology, we generated Gm15441-deficient mice and will investigate the metabolic consequences of lncRNA deficiency under different conditions such as high-fat diet, fasting and refeeding. If successful, our research will bring new mechanistic knowledge about lncRNA-mediated translational regulation and metabolic control by lncRNAs and translate into clinical applications aiming to stabilize protein function via anti-lncRNA treatment.