The current expansion of the RNA world, revealing that annotated ncRNA producing genes may soon outnumber protein-coding-genes, predicts that ncRNA regulation will impact most aspects of cellular biology. It is therefore not surprising that aberrant ncRNA levels correlate strongly with human disease phenotypes and that RNA turnover systems themselves are strongly linked to disease biology. However, which ncRNAs retain function and which are merely by-products of functional, or spurious, transcription events remain a major challenge to sort out. We focus on identifying new, and characterizing known, eukaryotic RNA turnover systems; their factor compositions, topologies, biochemical properties, substrate specificities and regulatory capacities.
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We primarily use human cell lines as model systems, but also carry out research in the genetically tractable baker’s yeast; S. cerevisiae. The group utilizes traditional biochemical methods as well as high-resolution microscopy and ’high throughput’ mass spectrometry- DNA array- and deep sequencing-technologies. The group currently consists of 15 scientists and technicians. Moreover, Torben Heick Jensen is heading the Danish National Research Foundation-funded centre of excellence: Centre for mRNP Biogenesis and Metabolism.