miRNAs and Human Behavior

Micro RNAs are small molecules of great regulatory relevance which have long been of interest in cancer research. However, they could also exert immense influence in the development of complex personality traits and psychiatric illnesses, because a single microRNA can regulate the expression of many different genes.

Together with our colleagues Turhan Canli and Magdalena Jurkiewicz (Stony Brook University, NY-USA), we were able to show that micro RNAs influence the development of anxiety disorders and the translational control of various proteins. In an ongoing study with colleagues around Martin Diers (LWL Kliniken, Bochum Germany), we are currently investigating the influence of genome-wide DNA variations in microRNA coding regions and in their corresponding mRNA binding regions.