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The Power Decoder simulator for the evaluation of pooled shRNA screen performance
Jesse Stombaugh, Abel Licon, Žaklina Strezoska, Joshua Stahl, Sarah Bael Anderson, Michael Banos, Anja van Brabant Smith, Amanda Birmingham, Annaleen Vermeulen

Power Decoder (written in R and Python) simulates shRNA pooled screening experiments in silico to allow for the estimation of a screen’s statistical power. Populations of shRNAs were engineered in such a way that the magnitude of depletion and enrichment was known, then using the negative binomial distribution, an in silico model was developed to successfully resemble data from an actual laboratory experiment.

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Knockdown of long noncoding RNAs in breast cancer
1 Jennii Luu, 2 Jesper Maag, 1 Yanny Handoko, 3 Richard Redvers, 3,4 Robin L. Anderson, 5 Maren M. Gross , 2 Marcel E. Dinger, and 1,3 Kaylene J. Simpson 1 Victorian Centre for Functional Genomics, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre; 2 Genome Informatics, The Kinghorn Cancer Centre, The Garvan Institute of Medical Research; 3 Metastasis Research Laboratory, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, 4 Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology, University of Melbourne;

RNAi global collaboration study using Lincode siRNA in a primary screen of tumor and nontumor breast cell lines. Hundreds of lncRNAs are found to affect viability and cell morphology of breast cancer. Presented at Keystone Symposia on Long Noncoding RNAs: From Evolution to Function, Mar 15 - Mar 20, 2015.

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Knockdown of long noncoding RNAs in breast cancer
1 Jennii Luu, 2 Jesper Maag, 1 Yanny Handoko, 3 Richard Redvers, 3,4 Robin L. Anderson, 5 Maren M. Gross , 2 Marcel E. Dinger, and 1,3 Kaylene J. Simpson 1 Victorian Centre for Functional Genomics, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre; 2 Genome Informatics, The Kinghorn Cancer Centre, The Garvan Institute of Medical Research; 3 Metastasis Research Laboratory, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, 4 Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology, University of Melbourne;

RNAi global collaboration study using Lincode siRNA in a primary screen of tumor and nontumor breast cell lines. Hundreds of lncRNAs are found to affect viability and cell morphology of breast cancer. Presented at Keystone Symposia on Long Noncoding RNAs: From Evolution to Function, Mar 15 - Mar 20, 2015.

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Improved Small RNA Library Preparation Workflow for Next-Generation Sequencing
Sabrina Shore, Jordana Henderson, Anton McCaffrey, Gerald Zon, Richard Hogrefe

We describe an optimized small RNA NGS library prep workflow using chemically modified adapters which suppresses adapter dimers, allows for RNA inputs down to 1 ng and eliminates the need for a gel purification step, thus allowing full automation not previously possible.

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Fluorescent Nanoprobes Confined in a Drop as a novel Sensing Platform for Detection of Metal Species at Trace Level
Carlos Bendicho, Isabel Costas-Mora, Vanesa Romero, Isela Lavilla

In the last years, a great interest has arisen concerning the design and development of new optical probes for the sensitive and selective detection of chemical species making use of miniaturized and environmental friendly methods. In this sense, quantum dots (QDs) and metal nanoclusters (NCs) have important optical properties to be applied in analytical systems as fluorescent probes.

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Specificity of highly potent miRNA inhibitors
Barbara Robertson, Andrew Dalby, Yuriy Fedorov, Jon Karpilow, Anastasia Khvorova1, Devin Leake, Annaleen Vermeulen

miRNA inhibitors are invaluable tools for elucidating the roles of miRNAs. However, potent inhibitors may also affect other miRNAs. To understand the potential cross-reactivity of miRNA inhibitors, various miRNA inhibitor designs were systematically tested. We demonstrate that mismatches both within and outside the seed region of the miRNA interfere with inhibition. Our findings indicate that features important for natural miRNA target recognition are also important for inhibitor specificity.

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Alternative miRNA design for therapeutic RNAi applications
Anja van Brabant Smith, Barb Robertson, Annaleen Vermeulen, Christina Yamada, Angela Reynolds, Anastasia Khvorova, Devin Leake

For in vivo applications, the design of miRNA inhibitors and miRNA mimics must be optimized for stability and potency. However, stabilized miRNA mimic molecules can lose functionality compared to standard miRNA mimic molecules due, in part, to the activity of the stabilized passenger strand acting as a miRNA inhibitor. We discuss how mismatches affect the activity of the stabilized miRNA mimics, perhaps by generating a passenger strand that is less functional as an inhibitor molecule.

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Cas9 driven by an optimal promoter improves gene editing in eukaryotic cell lines when paired with synthetic crRNA and tracrRNA
Amanda Haupt, Emily Anderson, Žaklina Strezoska, Hidevaldo Machado, Shawn McClelland, Maren Mayer, Adam Rocker, Annaleen Vermeulen, Amanda Birmingham, Melissa Kelley, Anja Smith

Presented here are results on the efficiency of using synthetic crRNA and tracrRNA to introduce gene editing events when co-transfected with a plasmid expressing Cas9. We explored the use of antibiotic and fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) methods for enrichment of cells that have undergone gene editing, and the use of multiple promoters to increase efficiency of gene editing with Cas9 and synthetic tracrRNA and crRNAs.

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Specificity and functionality of microRNA inhibitors
Barbara Robertson, Andrew Dalby, Jon Karpilow, Anastasia Khvorova, Devin Leake and Annaleen Vermeulen

Our findings indicate that features important for natural miRNA target recognition also appear to be important for inhibitor specificity. Understanding the specificity of inhibitors allows for better interpretation of inhibitor activity in endogenous systems.

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Scientific News
Turning Skin Cells into Heart, Brain Cells
In a major breakthrough, scientists at the Gladstone Institutes transformed skin cells into heart cells and brain cells using a combination of chemicals.
Detection of HPV in First-Void Urine
Similar sensitivity of HPV test on first void urine sample compared to cervical smear.
Potential “Good Fat” Biomarker
New method to measure the activity of energy consuming brown fat cells could ease the testing weight loss drugs.
Shape Of Tumor May Affect Whether Cells Can Metastasize
Illinois researchers found that the shape of a tumor may play a role in how cancer cells become primed to spread.
MicroRNA Pathway Could Lead to New Avenues for Leukemia Treatment
Cancer researchers at the University of Cincinnati have found a particular signaling route in microRNA (miR-22) that could lead to targets for acute myeloid leukemia, the most common type of fast-growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow.
Analysis of Dog Genome will Provide Insight into Human Disease
An important model in studying human disease, the non-coding RNA of the canine genome is an essential starting point for evolutionary and biomedical studies – according to a new study led by The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC).
New Blood Test for The Earlier Diagnosis of Breast Cancer Spread
Researchers at University of Westminster have confirmed that a new blood test can detect if breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
First Gene Therapy Successful Against Human Aging
American woman gets biologically younger after gene therapies.
Targeting an ‘Undruggable’ Cancer Gene
RAS genes are mutated in more than 30 percent of human cancers and represent one of the most sought-after cancer targets for drug developers.
Altered Metabolism of Four Compounds Drives Glioblastoma Growth
Findings suggest new ways to treat the malignancy, slow its progression and reveal its extent more precisely.
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