Andrew Yoo, PhD

Andrew Yoo, PhD

Professor, WashU Developmental Biology

MicroRNA-mediated neuronal reprogramming and chromatin remodeling

Human skin fibroblasts directly converted to neurons (green: TUBB3, blue: DAPI)

We are interested in molecular mechanisms governing the acquisition of neuronal cell fate and reprogramming of non-neuronal cells into neurons.  Our work previously showed that a set of brain-enriched microRNAs (miR-9/9* and miR-124) promote the assembly of neuron-specific chromatin remodeling complexes during neural development, and demonstrated that expressing these microRNAs ectopically in non-neuronal cell types could convert their cell fates directly into neurons.  We are currently devising experimental protocols to generate specific neuronal subtypes from human skin cells, with an ultimate goal of developing tissue culture models of neurological diseases.  Furthermore, we investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying the neurogenic activities of microRNAs specifically focusing on how microRNAs alter chromatin states.

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