The need to monitor the physiological condition of an organism has led to the search for suitable indicators: the "biomarkers." The goal of BioDivErSI is to develop an innovative and versatile prototype tool based on the combination of an electrospray ionization (ESI) source and mass spectrometry (MS) as a new technology for the "discovery" and the chemical and structural characterization of biomarkers in their native form, that is, in the structure associated with their biological function. Among biomarkers, BioDivErSI will focus on the identification and characterization of microRNAs (miRNA). miRNAs are small, non-coding endogenous RNAs that negatively regulate the translation of coding messenger RNAs (mRNAs) in a specific sequence. These biomolecules are relevant because variations in their expression are associated with pathologies. Their highly specific expression and function allows for accurate molecular classification for example of tumors, and in recent years about 2000 miRNAs involved in tumor pathophysiology have been discovered and validated.
Objectives of the project:
-design and development of an original instrumentation that couples an ESI source and a mass spectrometer to produce molecular beams of miRNA and their multiply charged complexes, to control their structure by selecting a particular state of charge and to study the binding interactions of the species;
-characterization of isolated model miRNA sequences and their interaction with target molecules. The analysis will be supported by Molecular Dynamics and Machine Learning studies for the construction and use of a species database with charge states representative of the miRNA and of the complexes. This will allow to trace the composition and structures of unknown species present through classification and clustering algorithms.
- use and validation of the new technology in close collaboration with clinical institutions in the area.
Financing body: Lazio Innova
Starting year: 2021
End year: 2023
Call: Avviso "Gruppi di Ricerca 2020" POR FESR LAZIO
Budget ISM (k€): 147,5
Role ISM: Unit Coordinator
Referent ISM: Lorenzo Avaldi
Other ISM staff: Paola Bolognesi, Mattea Carmen Castrovilli, Andrea Morabito, Jacopo Chiarinelli
Laboratory: Molecular Dyamics and Application (MDA)
Project partner: Chemistry Dep. Sapienza Università di Roma, Ionvac Process Srl, CINECA (Rome Branch)