The 26th annual RNA Society Meeting is taking place virtually from May 25th to June 5th. This meeting is bringing together young scientists, renown RNA researchers, entrepreneurs, and leading biotech and pharma companies fostering the exchange of ideas leading to breakthroughs in RNA research. As the RNA Experts, Lexogen is delighted to support the RNA Society Meeting also this year. We invite all participants to get the most out of RNA 2021 by viewing talks and posters, networking with other participants and exploring Lexogen’s offerings for RNA biologists.

This time, we will give the stage to Merrit Romeike, a young scientist exploring transition states in single cells. Using various RNA sequencing techniques, including the 3’ mRNA-Seq technologies QuantSeq and LUTHOR, Merrit and her colleagues unravelled the mechanism underlying their model system for single cell state transition and its intrinsic robustness. Don’t miss out on her exciting talk and register following the link below.

Lexogen Sponsored Talk

Merrit Romeike_photo

Impaired Differentiation: Understanding a Single Cell State Transition

Merrit Romeike

PhD Candidate @ Max Perutz Labs

Date:  Thursday, May 27, 2021
Time: 11 AM PT  |  2 PM ET  |  8 PM CET

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Merrit Romeike1,2, Celine Sin1,2, Michele Hurth1,2, Martin Leeb1,2, Joerg Menche1,2, Christa Buecker1,2

1 Max Perutz Labs Vienna, Austria
2 University of Vienna, Austria

Development is characterized by distinct, coordinated cell state transitions. During each transition, an existing gene expression program is dismantled, and a new cellular identity has to be established.

We use the exit from naïve pluripotency as a highly accessible and controllable model system for a single cell state transition: mouse embryonic stem cells cultivated under defined conditions are homogenous naïve pluripotent and maintained by a well-established core gene regulatory network. Upon change of culture conditions, this network is rapidly dismantled, and cells irreversibly commit to differentiation into formative pluripotency, a less characterized cell state. Despite extensive screening for factors required for exiting naïve pluripotency, so far not a single factor has been identified which completely abrogates differentiation ability. Differentiation impaired mutants rather exhibit a phenotype which is mostly described as prolonged expression of pluripotency markers or clustering of bulk transcription profiles with naïve wildtype.

Single cell methods open up a window into understanding these aberrant cell states. We collected fine-tuned differentiation time courses of control and selected differentiation impaired mutants, targeting the major signalling pathways involved in this transition. We built a shared trajectory across these genotypes and could recapitulate a delay in cell state of mutants in comparison to time matched control cells. With this, we now address fundamental questions: are observed differences based on differences in cell state, or are they directly affected by the altered gene regulatory networks? How are these networks responding to the challenge of genetic manipulations? How is the remarkable robustness of this cell state transition ensured?

Taken together, our work will elucidate the mechanism of a single cell state transition and its intrinsic robustness.

Merrit Romeike is a PhD student in the lab of Christa Buecker at the Max Perutz Labs and the University of Vienna. For her PhD thesis, she investigates how a single cell state transition is regulated and what happens if this transition is impaired, using a combination of CRISPR screening and single cell RNA-seq approaches. Previously, she received Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from the University of Heidelberg.

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