Profile Url: souvik-maiti
Researcher at CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology
The Journal of Experimental Biology, 2018-11-16
High fecundity, transparent embryos for monitoring the rapid development of organs and the availability of a well-annotated genome has made zebrafish a model organism of choice for developmental biology and neurobiology. This vertebrate model, a favourite in chronobiology studies, shows striking circadian rhythmicity in behaviour. Here, we identify novel genes in the zebrafish genome, which shows their expression in the zebrafish retina. We further resolve the expression pattern over time and assign specific novel transcripts to the retinal cell type, predominantly in the inner nuclear layer. Using chemical ablation and free run experiments we segregate the transcripts that are rhythmic when entrained by light from those that show sustained oscillations in the absence of external cues. The transcripts reported here with rigorous annotation and specific functions in circadian biology provide the groundwork for functional characterisation of novel players in the zebrafish retinal clock.
miRNAs are key non-protein coding regulators of gene expression in various pathophysiological conditions. Targeting miRNA with small molecules offer an unconventional approach, where clinically active compounds with RNA binding activity can be tested for their ability to modulate miRNA levels and thus for drug repositioning. Aminoglycoside antibiotics are highly effective microbicidal RNA binding molecules that bind to prokaryotic rRNA secondary structures. Here, we report that specific subsets of miRNA can be modulated by aminoglycosides. However, ototoxicity (cochlear and vestibular) and nephrotoxicity of multiple origins resulting from prolonged use are a well-known disadvantage of aminoglycosides. Mature non-coding RNAs and their precursors can present off-target sites, by forming secondary structures that resemble ribosomal RNA, thus providing an additional molecular basis for the toxicity of aminoglycosides. Using in vitro, in cellulae and physiological responses, we provide evidence for the direct functional perturbation of the miR-96 cluster leading to selective cell death in neuromasts - the zebrafish equivalent of cochlear hair cells - by Streptomycin, a prototype aminoglycoside antibiotic, thus contributing to the observed ototoxicity. Our observations, collectively underscore the importance of re-evaluating RNA binding drugs for their off-targeting effects in the context of miRNA and other functional non-coding RNA.