Institute for Integrative Genome Biology


Weifeng GuWeifeng Gu

Assistant Professor

Mailing Address:

Cell Biology & Neuroscience
Biological Sciences Building /1117
University of California
Riverside, CA 92521

Phone: (951) 827-3600
Fax: (951) 827-3595
Email: weifeng.gu@ucr.edu


PhD 2005 University of Rochester
BSc 1997 Beijing Medical University

College/Division Affiliation:

College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

Areas Of Expertise:

Small RNAs

Research Summary:

Non-coding small RNAs, usually 20-30 nt long, were first identified two decades ago, and over the last decade, many species of non-coding small RNAs have been identified, such as miRNAs, siRNAs, piRNAs, capped small RNAs, etc. Overall the number of these small RNAs is much more than that of the protein coding genes in many organisms, including human. Most non-coding small RNAs bind Argonaute proteins to regulate varied biological processes such as gene expression, mRNA translation and mRNA stability. These processes are critical for genome stability, anti-virus defense, and development. Mis-regulation of non-coding small RNAs causes developmental defects and various diseases such as cancers, diabetes, etc.

As a relatively new research field, the function and biogenesis of non-coding small RNAs mostly remain unknown. One major focus of my research is on piRNAs (Piwi-interacting RNAs), which bind Piwi Argonaute proteins and play critical roles in silencing transposons, virus, and non-self transcripts. I use C. elegans as a model system, which proved to be a very convenient and powerful system for small RNA study as well as other studies in the past. I recently identified piRNA precursors, ~26 nt capped small RNA in C. elegans. Currently I am working on identifying the protein factors involved in piRNA biogenesis. Moreover, I identified at least two novel groups of piRNAs, which are different from the canonical piRNAs (type 1) usually clustered on C. elegans chromosome IV. One group, type 2, is basically derived from all protein coding genes expressed in the germline. The other group, type 3, is not from protein coding genes, and expressed at much higher level than most type 1 and type 2 piRNAs. Currently I am investigating the functions and biogenesis of these piRNAs.

In addition, my lab is also interested in endogenous siRNA research, especially in anti-virus aspects. I am also interested in identifying and investigating novel non-coding small RNAs.

Most of my work involves a combination of genetic, biochemical and deep-seq/bioinformatics tools to probe a complicated biomedical question from different aspects.

Selected Publications:

List of publications from PubMed

Lab Personnel: +

Li, Ruidong
Graduate Student — g examines the RNAi response to viral infection in Drosophila.

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Career OpportunitiesUCR Libraries
Campus StatusDirections to UCR

Genomics Information

Institute of Integrative Genome Biology
2150 Batchelor Hall

Tel: (951) 827-7177
E-mail: Aurelia Espinoza, Managing Director