Project information
ROles of ePitranscriptomic in diseasES (ROPES)

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Project Identification
Project Period
12/2020 - 5/2025
Investor / Pogramme / Project type
European Union
MU Faculty or unit
Central European Institute of Technology
Cooperating Organization
Czech Geological Service
German Cancer Research Center
Université de Lausanne
Universita degli Studi di Trento
Medizinische Universitaet Wien
Umea University
Foundation Centre for Genomic Regulation
International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw

Epitranscriptomics is the study of RNA modifications and their role in the regulation of gene expression. As happened for DNA, extensive covalent modification of RNA was found already in the 70s. Nevertheless, a spectacular expansion of epitranscriptomics occurred mostly in the past seven years, when an extensive layer of base decorations was discovered in mRNAs and shown to undergo cell modulation. These modifications produce programmable fluctuations in mRNA levels, translatability and subcellular compartmentalization, affecting primary cell programs such as cell differentiation and response to stress. We thus anticipate that RNA modifications will prove as important as chromatin dynamics in shaping cell
phenotypes. This emerging field is hence crucial for both basic science and application to human disease. Epitranscriptomic would provide the missing link between genomic variability and cellular phenotypes, contributing to explaining the cause of specific diseases and developing novel therapies. Epitranscriptomic research is dominated by the US and China, with the EU lagging behind. We thus need to rapidly create a European framework to integrate and accelerate research efforts and industrial applications in this emerging field. To address this major European need, ROPES will train a group of Early Stage Researchers who will become the seed of the European epitranscriptome science of this decade. They will join a recently established network of academic research groups and biotech companies devoted to advancing our understanding of RNA modifications while promoting the development of new biomarkers and therapies. Focusing on RNA editing and m6A methylation, ROPES will investigate disease mechanisms and new therapies in the fields of cancer, stem cell diseases and innate immunity, while developing innovative epitranscriptomics methods. The ROPES European Training Network is the first European effort to tackle the epitranscriptome for the advancement of medicine.

Sustainable Development Goals

Masaryk University is committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to improve the conditions and quality of life on our planet by 2030.

Sustainable Development Goal No.  3 – Good health and well-being Sustainable Development Goal No.  4 – Quality education Sustainable Development Goal No.  5 – Gender equality Sustainable Development Goal No.  8 – Decent work and economic growth Sustainable Development Goal No.  17 – Partnerships for the goals


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