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Wang Lab



Principal Investigator

Research Description

Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) along with deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and protein composes the major material that is essential for all known forms of life. Life message written by more than 3 billion nucleotides in specific sequences that stored in cell nuclear needs variant RNA molecules to  carry the information from nuclear to cytosol by messenger RNA (mRNA) and assemble a machinery to convert the sequence messages to proteins by tRNA and rRNA.  In an typical human cell, there is about 10-50pg RNAs, 1.5 to 5 folds more that DNA contents, that mainly distribute in the cytoplasm. Some other types of RNAs, such as translation inhibiting small RNAs, eg. microRNAs and siRNAs, also play crucial roles in the regulations of gene activities. Aberrant RNA metabolism or abnormal function will most certainly lead to malfunction of the cells and therefore link to pathologic conditions.

RNA is also encoded by DNA in the nuclear. Most RNAs exert their function in the cytoplasm therefore the Nascent RNA synthesized in nuclear need to be transported to cytoplasm. Sophisticated processes take place on the RNA molecules during RNA maturation from nascent RNA, include 5’ capping, splicing and 3’ tailing, as well as RNA editing. Our laboratory has been work on the function and molecular mechanisms of RNA process, particularly the RNA editing process. Adenosine deaminase acting on RNA 1 (ADAR1)  is an RNA editing enzyme that binds to and changes the sequence information of RNA molecules. We have demonstrated that ADAR1 is an essential enzyme for animal survival and embryonic development. In ADAR1 knockout mice, the embryo die around day 11-12. Employing conditional and inducible knockout models, we also found that adult cells including adult stem cells require ADAR1 for their differentiation and normal functions. ADAR1 is dispensable for the organ homeostasis  include liver, pancreas, intestine, T and B lymphocyte, skin. For example, in the liver specific knockout animal model, deletion of ADAR1 caused profound hepatocyte death and persistent liver regeneration that lead to severe liver function damage.

There are evidences that ADAR1 involves in interferon (IFN) signaling pathways. In ADAR1 knockout animals IFN levels and its regulated genes are upregulated. IFNs play critical roles in pathogen infections and also in inflammation responses. It conceivable that cells change their RNA content biologically or by pathogen invading that need ADAR1 to copy with. Inappropriate process of the RNAs will activate the IFN path cascade that could lead to severe tissue damage. We currently focus our interests in the function of ADAR1 in surgical pathological context. Hopefully our study will contribute to the better understanding of  molecular mechanism of inflammation development in the surgical infection and trauma conditions. 

Lab Members


Wang Q, Khillan J,  Gadue P, Nishikura K.  Requirement of the RNA Editing Deaminase ADAR1 Gene for Embryonic Erythropoiesis.  Science 2000;290:1765-1768. PMID: 11099415 | View Publication

Wang Q, Miyakoda M, Yang W, Khillan J, Stachura DL, Weiss MJ, Nishikura K.  Stress-induced apoptosis associated with Null mutation of ADAR1 RNA editing deaminase gene.  J Biol Chem 2004;279:4952-4961. PMID: 14613934 | View Publication

Yang W, Wang Q, Kanes SJ, Murray JM, Nishikura K.  Altered RNA editing of serotonin 5-HT2c receptor induced by interferon: implications of depression associated with cytokine therapy. Brain Res  Mol Brain Res 2004;124:70-78. PMID: 15093687 | View Publication

Yang W, Chendrimada T, Wang Q, Higuchi M, Seeburgh P, Shiekhattar, and Nishikura K, Modulation of microRNA processing and expression through RNA editing by ADAR deaminases. Nature Structural &  Molecular Biology. 2006 Jan;13(1):13-21. PMID: 16369484 | View Publication

Richard XuFeng, Matthew J. Boyer, Hongmei Shen, Yanxin Li, Hui Yu, Yindai Gao, Qiong Yang, Qingde Wang1 and Tao Cheng1, ADAR1 is required for hematopoietic progenitor cell survival via RNA editing. Proc Natl Acad Sci. U S A. 2009 Oct 20; 106(42):17763-8. PMID: 19805087 | View Publication

Yang Q, XuFeng Richard, Nie D, Yuan y, Lu B, Cheng T and Wang Q, An essential role of the RNA editing enzyme ADAR1 in  T cell development. Blood. 2009 Nov. 20; Vol. 114, No. 22: 378 #917  | View Publication

Wang Q, RNA editing catalyzed by ADAR1 and its function in mammalian cells. Biochemistry(Mosc). 2011 Aug;76(8):900-11. PMID: 22022963. | View Publication

Steinman RA and Wang Q, ADAR1 isoform involvement in embryonic lethality.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Jun 14;108(24):E199. PMID: 21593418. | View Publication

Sharma Rohit, Wang Yujuan, Zhou Pei, Steinman Richard A. and Wang Qingde, An essential role of RAN editing enzyme ADAR1 in mouse skin. Journal of Dermatology Science. 2011 J Dermatol Sci. 2011 Oct;64(1):70-2. PMID: 21788117 | View Publication

Steinman Richard A. Qiong Yang, Maura Gasparetto, Lisa J Robinson2, Xiaoping Liu1, Diana E Lenzner, Jingzhou Hou, Clayton Smith and Wang Qingde. Deletion of the RNA-editing enzyme ADAR1 causes regression of established chronic myelogenous leukemia in mice. Submitted to Blood.