RNA Biology

We work on in-vivo large-scale studies of RNA structure and function to understand the role of posttranscriptional regulation in plant adaptation to warm ambient temperatures. Plants respond to warmth via morphological changes that help body cooling, termed thermomorphogenesis. This adaptative process is becoming increasingly relevant due to climate changes and its consequent mild increases in global average temperatures, impacting crop yield and food security.

In our group, we are interested in the molecular mechanisms involving conformational changes in mRNA structure that regulate transcript stability and translation, thereby regulating thermomorphogenesis. We study the plant model Arabidopsis and focus on RNA structures that are conserved across plant species.


  • Making sense of the natural antisense transcript puzzle
    RS Reis, Y Poirier
    Trends in Plant Science 26 (11), 1104-1115, 10.1016/j.tplants.2021.07.004 2021
  • An antisense noncoding RNA enhances translation via localized structural rearrangements of its cognate mRNA
    Rodrigo S Reis; Jules Deforges; Romy R Schmidt; Jos H M Schippers; Yves Poirier
    The Plant Cell 2021-05-31 | 10.1093/plcell/koab010  2021

  • Modulation of shoot phosphate level and growth by PHOSPHATE1 upstream open reading frame.
    Reis, R.S., Deforges, J., Sokoloff, T., and Poirier, Y. (2020).
    Plant Physiology pp.01549.2019. (featured on “News and Views”), 10.1104/pp.19.01549

  • The transcription and export complex THO/TREX contributes to transcription termination in plants.
    Khan, G.A., Deforges, J., Reis, R.S., Hsieh, Y.-F., Montpetit, J., Antosz, W., Santuari, L., Hardtke, C.S., Grasser, K.D., and Poirier, Y. (2020).
    PLOS Genetics 16: e1008732.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1008732

  • Prediction of regulatory long intergenic non-coding RNAs acting in trans through base-pairing interactions.
    Deforges, J.*, Reis, R.S.*, Jacquet, P., Vuarambon, D.J., and Poirier, Y. (2019).
    BMC Genomics 20: 601. *Equal contribution. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-019-5946-0

  • Control of cognate sense mRNA translation by cis-natural antisense RNAs.
    Deforges, J., Reis, R.S., Jacquet, P., Sheppard, S., Gadekar, V.P., Hart-Smith, G., Tanzer, A., Hofacker, I.L., Iseli, C., Xenarios, I., and Poirier, Y. (2019). 
    Plant Physiology 180: 305–322. https://doi.org/10.1104/pp.19.00043

  • A conditional silencing suppression system for transient expression.
    Reis, R.S.#, Litholdo, C.G., Bally, J., Roberts, T.H., and Waterhouse, P.M. (2018).
    Scientific Reports 8: 9426. #Corresponding author.  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-27778-3

Rodrigo Reis, Bern University

Prof. Dr. Rodrigo Reis
University of Bern
Institute of Plant Sciences


  • Thermomorphogenesis
  • RNA structure


  • RNA biology
  • Analysis of in vivo RNA structure (single transcript and transcriptome-wide)