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4. Alternative mRNA splicing in age-related tumor progression: From molecular disease mechanisms to individualized predictive tools

Principal Investigators:

Dr. Karin Kirschner (Principal Investigator CUB)

Prof. Dr. Christian Freund (Principal Investigator FUB)

Collaborating Researchers:

PD Dr. Anja Rabien (CUB),

Prof. Dr. Tim Conrad (FUB),

Prof. Dr. Florian Heyd (FUB),

Prof. Dr. Carsten Stephan (CUB)

Project Summary:

Alternative mRNA splicing is a biological mechanism for generating multiple proteins with diverse functions from a single pre-mRNA molecule. Altered mRNA splicing is dynamically regulated during development and has been linked to pathological aging processes. Novel high-throughput sequencing technologies and bioinformatic methods allow for the identification of cancer-specific mRNA splicing patterns to distinguish between different types of cancer and histological subtypes within the same tumor entity.

With this project, alternative splicing signatures in tumors will be correlated with clinical outcome, co-morbidities and individual prognostic factors, i.e. age, gender and life style, to gain a deeper understanding of individual disease history and treatment options. Identified alternatively spliced mRNAs will be further evaluated as diagnostic markers and with regard to their translation into protein. Additionally, we will develop new mathematical tools to feed alternative mRNA splicing data into bioinformatic networks for improved prediction of tumor progression in patients of different ages.