Ich hab heute den Großteil des (Arbeits-)Tages damit zugebracht, den Reisebericht für das Stipendium zu schreiben. Erst wusste ich nicht, wie zur Hölle ich 5000 Zeichen zusammen bekommen soll, dann wurden es doch über 8000. Ich sag Ihnen mal erst die Bedingungen, die ich fand:
- Mindestens 5000 Zeichen mit Leerzeichen
- Einleitung muss da sein
- Sowas wie ein Abstract auch
- Bilder (Tjanun. Ein Portrait von mir werde ich schon noch irgendwo auftreiben und dann halt die Pelitrosse oder das Gruppenfoto.).
- Zielgruppe sind Biochemiker*Innen mit sehr unterschiedlichem Ausbildungshintergrund. Grobe Richtline: eine frisch fertige Masterabsolventin im Bereich „irgendwas mit Molekular-“ sollte es verstehen können.
- Der Fokus soll auf dem Fachlichen liegen. (Das ist meine größte Schwierigkeit dabei, wegen der Geheimhaltung darf ich nichts über die tollen Sachen sagen, die ich da gehört hab…)
Das Ganze wird dann veröffentlicht
im Käseblatt in der Zeitschrift der Norwegischen Vereinigung der Biochemiker*Innen und die meisten der Reiseberichte die ich da so zu Inspirationszwecken gelesen habe fand ich arschlangweilig. Weil langweilig geschrieben. Das ist nicht so mein Fall und, also, Ich habe versucht das etwas anders zu machen. Nach reiflichem Überlegen ob ich wirklich mich nackt ausziehen will das Risiko eingehen will, dass Sie alle lachen und nachdem ich überprüft habe ob preprints für das Käseblatt die Zeitschrift in Ordnung gehen (Antwort: es gibt keine Antwort, in Internetsprech: sie verstehen die Frage nicht. Ich glaube, die haben sich da noch nie Gedanken drum gemacht.) habe ich mich deshalb dazu durchgerungen, Ihnen das mal zu zeigen. Bevor ca. 1000 Norwegische Biochemiker*Innen das im Briefkasten haben. Die sich das dann eh nicht durchlesen. Aber egal. Also. *hüstel* Ach so: sorry, is in inglisch! *hüstel*
20th RNA Editing Gordon Research Conference
The 20th Gordon Research Conference on RNA Editing was hold in Ventura, California, from 12th to 17th of March 2017. Thanks to financial support from the NBS I could attend the conference, get in touch with world leading scientists and present our groups work.
Epigenetics – modifications on the genome that change the cells or entire organisms phenotype without altering the genetic sequence itself – has been extensively studied over the past decades. The mechanisms of epigenetic modification include amongst others histone methylation, non-coding RNA associated gene silencing, chromatin remodelling and cytosine methylation, in which the latter is best characterized. The existence of similar methylations and other modifications in RNA has also been described as early as in the 1970s. However, it took until 2011 to discover that targeted and sequence-dependent enzymatic methylation on the N6-position of adenosine (m6A) in mRNA has regulatory effects on the translational level. Due to the intriguing parallels to DNA methylation and its effect on transcription, RNA methylation was soon termed ”Epitranscriptomics”. Since the characterization of m6A as an epitranscriptomic factor the field has emerged, now including N1-methyladenine (m1A) and 5-methylcytosine (m5C). Chances are that of the over 100 described modifications on RNA there are other, yet undiscovered modifications with regulatory functions on translation or RNA stability.
RNA Editing, on the other hand, has sequence-altering consequences on the transcript and is thus not included in the definition of epitranscriptomics. Nevertheless, RNA editing events are just as interesting to researchers, as targeted posttranscriptional editing adds another level to genetic regulation. RNA deamination of adenosine to inosine by ADARs and cytosine to uracil by the APOBEC family of deaminases has effects on RNA secondary structures, splicing, stability and localization. Furthermore, as inosine reads as guanosine in translation, the effects on gene expression can be substantial. Posttrancriptional deletion or insertion of nucleotides will also dramatically affect the fate of a RNA molecule
The biannual Gordon Research Conference on RNA Editing was established in 1997 and is the only scientific meeting dedicated solely to this subject. The relatively small number of participants, comprised of leading experts and young scientists, makes it easy to come in contact with other scientists working on RNA editing and epitranscriptomics, to discuss novel research findings, experimental strategies and to initiate collaborations with research groups from all over the world. For this purpose, poster sessions, meals and recreational times offer a good amount of time, while presentations are hold in sessions throughout the morning and evening. To get in touch with other PhD students and fresh PostDocs a seminar precedes the conference. So far for the theory.
In practice, I found it to be just as it sounded on the conferences webpage. The site of the conference near Ventura harbor was really beautiful and apart from the bonus effect of getting away from Norwegian winter for a week and enjoy spring in California the program offered good time to explore the sites surroundings and enjoy the social activities. Researchers who spend their life looking on tiny molecules seem to especially enjoy to watch slightly bigger things for a change. Like whales.
The Gordon Research Seminar, which took place on the afternoon of the 11th and the morning of the 12th of march, really was the ideal warm up for a freshly arrived PhD student travelling without her supervisor (me). On the seminar, PhD students and PostDocs will give presentations of their work, there is room for discussion with peers and – scary but useful – presenting at least a poster is obligatory for attendees. After presenting my poster right after my arrival (after 16 hours of travelling and still in the same clothes) to the other students, the poster sessions on the conference lost all of their intimidation on me. Very fruitful discussions evolved around the poster presentations and my special thanks go out to the student who pointed out a confusing typo to me, so that I could correct it before someone with a less benevolent attitude would have a look at it. In the conclusions of the seminar we also selected two presentations to be presented on Monday evening of the conference. Yes, that is in front of all those professors and intimidatingly smart people.
The conference began on Sunday evening with the obligatory introductory remarks. Unfortunally for me as the author of this article and you as the reader, Gordon Research Conferences are supposed to be a forum for discussion of novel and in part even unpublished research and thus the information received there is confidential. I’ll do my very best to report on the scientific contents without revealing any scientific secrets.
In the first session, titled “Frontiers in Editing”, a good overview was given about what we could expect from the conference: a broad variety of topics would be presented to us, pushing the boarder of knowledge. Jane Jackman gave a presentation on the 3’-modification in tRNAs; Joshua Rosenthal talked about A-to-I editing in squid and its impact on protein encoding; Eric Greer showed data on m6A and transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in C. elegans; Erez Levanon talked about APOBECs and Retrotransposons and Sebastian Leidel presented his work on tRNA anticodon modifications at the wobble base position in pathogenic yeast. With my head spinning from jet lag and information overload I went to bed without even glancing at the wine offered at the bar.
After this first day the sessions were more focused on special topics, namely ‘Physiological Functions for Editing and Modification’, ‘Regulation of RNA Editing and Modification’, ‘Editing in Immunity’, ‘Epitranscriptomics’, ‘Molecular Mechanisms of Editing Machines’, ‘Genome and Transcriptome Engineering Technologies’, ‘RNA and DNA Modifications in Cancer’, and ‘Neuro-Editing’. My personal highlights were the entire epitranscriptomics session (especially the presentations by Samie Jaffrey and Mark Helm) along with the talks by Chuan He, Jody Puglisi, and Shalini Oberdoerffer, because these talks focused on topics that are highly relevant to my own PhD research. I work on small modifications in mRNA and the clearance of aberrantly alkylated bases from the RNA pool, with a special focus on the anticancer drug methyl methanesulfonate and its impact on RNA alkylation. But apart from that I enjoyed all of the sessions, because the short talks and familial atmosphere during the discussions really made it easy to follow the sessions, even if the talks were about topics I had never heard of before. After all, I learned about as much from attending the five days conference as I would have from doing four weeks of literature research.
The poster sessions were divided into two groups and each group had to be present at the poster twice. It was about 50 posters crammed into a not too large room, and after two hours of constant talking in a room full of people everyone was both hoarse and deaf. Nevertheless I had very interesting discussions on my poster and I got a lot of useful comments which I will now implement in the next experiments. As all of the conference speakers had to evaluate the posters, it was a good opportunity to get highly qualified comments on ones work.
To sum up: It was a really great experience to visit the GRC on RNA Editing. The overall atmosphere was friendly and open, despite the world leading experts attending. The research presented covered all of the diverse topics within the field, but stayed focused on it. If you are a PhD student and wondering if you should go on a GRC and if so, whether or not if you should attend the seminar also, I can only recommend you to do both! The next GRC on RNA Editing will be held in Italy in the spring of 2019.
I wish to thank the NBS greatly for funding my attendance of this conference with a travel grant.
Tadaaa! Das war’s. Lang genug ist’s auf jeden Fall. Eher zu lang. Frage ist, ob es zu Larifari ist. Oder zu persönlich. Immerhin muss ich mich vermutlich innerhalb des nächsten Jahres auf Jobs bewerben, da wäre es ungünstig, wenn ich norwegenweit verschrien wäre als „die mit dem schrecklichen Reisebericht
im Käseblatt in der Zeitschrift“.