ARRTI Speaker Series - Dr. Sean McKenna

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The Alberta RNA Research and Training Institute presents Dr. Sean McKenna from the University of Manitoba. His talk is titled "Investigations into a long non-coding RNA critical for cancer cell survival and proliferation." The ARRTI Speaker Series is open to the public and was established to bring leading researchers to the University of Lethbridge for lectures on a broad range of topics relating to RNA research. All are welcome! Coffee and snacks will be provided.


BC200 is a 200 nt primate-specific long non-coding RNA expressed at high levels in brain. In addition to brain, BC200 is expressed at moderate levels in testes and is over-expressed in wide variety of tumours and tumour-derived cell lines. BC200 is postulated to play a role in translational regulation of a subset of mRNAs, possibly acting as a key regulator of site specific protein translation.  Data concerning the role of BC200 in neural tissue as well as tumour cells is preliminary and to date no mRNAs directly regulated by BC200 have been elucidated. This talk will present our initial work to characterize the structure and function of BC200. Knock-down of BC200 expression results in a dramatic loss of viability through growth arrest and induction of apoptosis; whereas BC200 overexpression had no discernible impact on cell growth or viability. A substantial decrease in BC200 expression was observed upon cell confluence, as well as drug induced cell cycle arrest in G1 or G2 but not S- or M-phases. Protein binding partners of BC200 have been identified through mass spectrometry approaches, as have potential cancer-specific RNA targets via qPCR arrays. Together the work presents compelling evidence that BC200 plays a central role in cancer cell survival and proliferation. 

About Dr. McKenna:

Dr. Sean McKenna is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry, and the Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics at the University of Manitoba.  He received his B.Sc. from Queen's University and his Ph.D. from the Unviersity of Alberta.  He went on to do post-doctoral work at Stanford University, before joining the University of Manitoba in 2012.

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Emily Wilton |

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