Dissecting miRNA networks

microRNA (miRNAs) regulate genetic programs in immune cells. We aim at identifying and characterizing new miRNAs to design new effective tools for cancer therapy.

microRNAs (miRNAs) are small RNA molecules that fine tune the expression of proteins through directly binding to their messenger RNAs (mRNAs)  reducing their stability.

In this project, we aim at exploiting innovative cell-engineering techniques to explore uncharted circuits of gene regulation in metastasis-associated immune cells. To this aim, we are combining machine learning algorithms with bulk small and total RNA sequencing. Furthermore, we are employing lentiviral vectors to convey transgene expression to immune cells in tumor-free or in the presence of liver metastases. Of note our lentiviral vector tools can drive miRNA overexpression or knockout in at least 60 % of immune cells in adult mice, thus giving us the unique opportunity of selectively controlling and dissecting the function of miRNAs in immune cells associated to liver metastases. By enforcing or inhibiting the activity of specific miRNAs we are able to modulate the activation state of a cell, including cells of the immune system.

Spleen Naldini lab
Credits: Chiara Bresesti, IF confocal image of a spleen