Dr Minni Änkö

Dr Minni (Minna-Liisa) Änkö heads the Functional RNAomics Laboratory, holding a joint appointment at the Centre of Reproductive Health and Centre for Cancer Research.

Minni obtained her PhD from the Åbo Akademi University in Finland. She was a post-doctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute of Cell Biology and Genetics, in Dresden, Germany 2006-2011, supported by a Sigrid Juselius Foundation Post-doctoral Fellowship. Minni moved to Australia in 2011 when she received a Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation Fellowship, and worked as a visiting scientist at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, Monash University. She then continued her research as a senior research fellow at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (2012-2013) until establishing her independent laboratory at the Monash University in 2014 and relocating to Hudson Institute in 2018.

The Functional RNAomics Laboratory investigates gene regulation through RNA binding proteins in tissues that rely on continuous production of new cells during development or throughout life. Such tissues include the early embryo, male germline, intestinal lining and blood cells. Importantly, cancer cells highjack many features of these self-renewing cells. My laboratory studies RNP complexes – the functional units of RNA- formed by RNA binding proteins with RNA. We aim to crack the RNP code of distinct cell types that share a common property of rapid turnover. Our goal is to reveal key regulatory mechanisms involved in early development, male fertility, blood clotting, maintenance of healthy intestinal lining and causes of malignant transformation. We hope that one day our discoveries will help the development of new RNA-based therapies and diagnostics to improve the treatment of infertility, cancer and haematological conditions.

Minni is a passionate ambassador of RNA research as well as the significance of RNA regulation in human health. She is the Victorian representative for the RNAoz, a special interest group in RNA biology in Australia and convenes meRNA club, a seminar series supported by the International RNA Society

Selected publications

  • Legrand JMD, Chan AL, La HM, Rossello FJ, Änkö ML, Fuller-Pace FV & Hobbs RM (2019) DDX5 plays essential transcriptional and post-transcriptional roles in the maintenance and function of spermatogonia. Nat Commun in press.

  • Nejad N, Pillman KA, Siddle KJ, Pépin G, Änkö ML, McCoy CE, Beilharz TH, Quintana-Murci L, Goodall GJ, Bracken CP and Gantier MP (2018) miR-222 isoforms are differentially regulated by type-I interferon. RNA 24:332-341.

  • Ratnadiwakara M, Archer SK, Dent GI, Ruiz De Los Mozos I, Beilharz TH, Knaupp AS, Nefzger CM, Polo JM, and Änkö ML (2018) SRSF3 promotes pluripotency through Nanog mRNA export and coordination of the pluripotency gene expression program. eLife May 9; 7.

  • Bao X, Guo X, Yin M, Tariq M, Lai Y, Kanwal S, Li N, Lv Y, Pulido-Quetglas C, Wang X, Ji L, Zhou J, Khan MJ, Zhu X, Luo Z, Shao C, Liu X, Li N, Wang W, He M, Wang T, Zhang G, Wang D, Yang J, Chen Y, Zhang C, Jauch R, Yang Y, Wang Y, Qin B, Johnson R, Änkö ML, Hutchins AP, Sun H, Wang H, Fu X, Zhang B and Esteban MA (2018) Capture of newly transcribed RNA interactome using click reaction. Nature Methods 15:213-220.

  • Kim EJY, Änkö ML, Huang DCS, van Delft MF and Heath JK (2017) BAK/BAX-mediated apoptosis is a Myc-dependent roadblock to reprogramming. Stem Cell Reports 10:331-338.

  • Ratnadiwakara M, Mohenska M and Änkö ML (2017) Splicing factors as regulators of miRNA biogenesis – links to human disease. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology.  Published online Nov 2017.

  • Änkö ML (2014) Regulation of gene expression programs by serine-arginine rich splicing factors. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology 32:11-21.

  • Änkö ML and Neugebauer KM (2012) RNA-protein interactions in vivo: global gets specific. Trends in Biochemical Sciences 37:255-262.

  • Änkö ML, Müller-McNicoll M, Brandl H, Curk T, Gorup C, Henry I, Ule J and Neugebauer KM (2012) The RNA-binding landscapes of two SR proteins reveal unique functions and binding to diverse RNA classes. Genome Biology, 13:R17.

  • Änkö ML, Morales L, Henry I, Beyer A and Neugebauer KM (2010) Global analysis reveals SRp20 and SRp75–specific mRNPs in cycling and neural cells. Nature Structural and Molecular Biology 17: 962-970.

  • Sapra AK, Änkö ML, Grishina I, Lorenz M, Pabis M, Poser I, Rollins J, Weiland EM, Neugebauer KM (2009) SR protein family members display diverse activities in the formation of nascent and mature mRNPs in vivoMolecular Cell 34:179-190.