José L. Muñoz-Rodríguez

Pharmacology and Toxicology / College of Pharmacy

Identification of a long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) and its protein interactions
Arsenic is a known human carcinogen and ranks high on the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) substance priority list. Evidence suggests that long-term exposure to arsenic induces epigenetic dysfunction, and this effect may be an important aspect of its carcinogenic activity. We have analyzed the epigenetic dysfunction associated with arsenic-induced malignant transformation of immortalized epithelial cells. Using the methyl-DNA immunoprecipitation (MeDIP) assay, coupled to a human promoter microarray and Sequenom MassARRAY, we showed that arsenic causes DNA methylation changes and mediates malignant transformation of immortalized epithelial cells. Many of these changes include DNA hypermethylation localized to individual genes, whereas, others cluster into groups within large genomic regions. We have identified a long, non-coding RNA (lncRNA) as one of the individual genes changing. LncRNAs are significant because they may target different aspects of the RNA transcription process. We have set out to further identify this lncRNA and demonstrate its function. Through the use of ProtoArray Human Protein microarrays we will identify the proteins that interact with this lncRNA to further elucidate its mechanism of action.