Discovery of tsRNAs in mature sperm
Hidden information in sperm small RNAs: tRNA-derived small RNA (tsRNA) & rRNA-derived small RNA (rsRNA)
Discovery of tsRNAs in serum, across vertebrate species
Sperm tsRNAs/rsRNAs, and RNA modifications, contribute to epigenetic inheritance of paternally acquired traits
Parallel with the discovery of tsRNAs in sperm and serum, we are fascinated about the increasing evidence that certain acquired traits during paternal exposure can be “memorized” in the sperm and inherited by the offspring, leading to a resurrection of the ideas of 'Lamarckian inheritance' and 'Darwin's Pangenesis' (Nat Rev Genet 2016, Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 2018). Recently, we found changes in expression profiles in sperm tsRNAs of mice with a paternal high-fat diet (HFD) (Science 2016), and later on also found another type of small RNAs, rRNA-derived small RNAs (rsRNAs), co-exist with tsRNAs in the sperm and they are sensitively regulated by HFD (Nat Cell Biol 2018). By injecting sperm total RNAs or different RNA fractions into normal zygotes, we found that the tsRNA/rsRNA enriched 30-40nt sperm RNA fraction, along with associated RNA modifications, represent a carrier of paternal epigenetic information that contributes to intergenerational inheritance of diet-induced metabolic disorder (Science 2016; Nat Cell Biol 2018). We also demonstrated that a RNA methyltransferase, Dnmt2, can shape the sperm RNA ‘coding signature’ by regulating RNA modifications and tsRNA/rsRNA biogenesis, and affect RNAs’ secondary structures that may together contribute to the effect of epigenetic inheritance (Nat Cell Biol 2018).
Single-cell analysis: bridging randomness and determinism
Symmetry-breaking in mammalian early embryo: when and how?
The 'sperm RNA Code' and how to decode it
Old dog, new tricks? novel function of Aquaporins beyond simple permeability
Discovery of Aquaporin-3 for rapid sperm osmoadaptation
Actually, in addition to our discovery, emerging evidence of other AQPs’ (such as AQP4, AQP5) having a role in cell volume regulation, can also not be fully explained by considering AQPs as inert pores simply for water permeability. We are now looking at the potential roles of AQPs as mechanosensors, especially in tissues with very low water permeability such as bladder, urethra etc.
AQP3's role as mechanosensor?
Compartmentalized intracellular reactions: an alternative sourece of heterogeneity
The game of fate: deterministic & stochastic factors
PANDORA-seq (right optic) reads more hidden
'RNA code' than traditional RNA-seq (let optic)
Inspired by the movie: National Treasure