creating a
healthier future


The main objective of our group is to understand and elucidate the molecular mechanisms involved in regulating gene expression and protein production at the RNA level, in particular by alternative polyadenylation and mRNA 3’end formation. We mainly focus on those events that are physiologically relevant in health and disease using state-of-the-art molecular biology methodologies.


Most human genes go through alternative polyadenylation in different physiological conditions, producing multiple mRNAs with important implications in health and disease. We have identified non-coding sequences that, through the binding of specific RNA binding proteins, control the expression of genes relevant for cell viability and immune responses.
Our research group currently focus on these main topics:
•    The function of the 3'UTRome in nerve regeneration and neurodegenerative disorders
•    Identification of new mRNA signatures as risk markers in cancers triggered by tobacco smoking
•    Identification of mRNA signatures in the immune-cancer cells crosstalk
•    The application of non-coding sequences in new therapeutic tools: iPLUS
The group uses different models systems, including primary human cells, mammalian cells culture, Drosophila, zebrafish and mouse models, to investigate the different scientific topics. We use a multidisciplinary approach that combines advanced 3’RNA-Seq methodologies and bioinformatics with well-established methods in cellular and molecular biology.


Heatmap representing a discernible pattern of expression between differentially expressed genes in Tumor (left) and Normal (right) samples in Head and Neck cancer.


Selected Publications

Pereira-Castro I., Garcia B.C., Curinha A., Neves-Costa A., Conde-Sousa E., Moita L.F., Moreira A.,
MCL1 alternative polyadenylation is essential for cell survival and mitochondria morphology. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences79(3):, 2022. [Journal: Article] [CI: 6] [IF: 8]
DOI: 10.1007/s00018-022-04172-x SCOPUS: 85125559845

Pereira-Castro I., Moreira A.,
On the function and relevance of alternative 3'-UTRs in gene expression regulation. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: RNA12(5):, 2021. [Journal: Review] [CI: 28] [IF: 9,3]
DOI: 10.1002/wrna.1653 SCOPUS: 85104155614

Oliveira M.S., Freitas J., Pinto P.A.B., De Jesus A., Tavares J., Pinho M., Domingues R.G., Henriques T., Lopes C., Conde C., Sunkel C.E., Moreira A.,
Cell cycle kinase polo is controlled by a widespread 3=untranslated region regulatory sequence in Drosophila melanogaster. Molecular and Cellular Biology39(15):, 2019. [Journal: Article] [CI: 4] [IF: 3,6]
DOI: 10.1128/MCB.00581-18 SCOPUS: 85070024885

Liu X., Freitas J., Zheng D., Oliveira M.S., Hoque M., Martins T., Henriques T., Tian B., Moreira A.,
Transcription elongation rate has a tissue-specific impact on alternative cleavage and polyadenylation in Drosophila melanogaster. RNA23(12):1807-1816, 2017. [Journal: Article] [CI: 39] [IF: 4,5]
DOI: 10.1261/rna.062661.117 SCOPUS: 85034084061

Braz S.O., Cruz A., Lobo A., Bravo J., Moreira-Ribeiro J., Pereira-Castro I., Freitas J., Relvas J.B., Summavielle T., Moreira A.,
Expression of Rac1 alternative 3' UTRs is a cell specific mechanism with a function in dendrite outgrowth in cortical neurons. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Gene Regulatory Mechanisms1860(6):685-694, 2017. [Journal: Article] [CI: 9] [IF: 5,2]
DOI: 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2017.03.002 SCOPUS: 85018940086

Rodrigues P.M., Ribeiro A.R., Perrod C., Landry J.J.M., Araújo L., Pereira-Castro I., Benes V., Moreira A., Xavier-Ferreira H., Meireles C., Alves N.L.,
Thymic epithelial cells require p53 to support their long-term function in thymopoiesis in mice. Blood130(4):478-488, 2017. [Journal: Article] [CI: 27] [IF: 15,1]
DOI: 10.1182/blood-2016-12-758961 SCOPUS: 85026293874

Domingues R.G., Lago-Baldaia I., Pereira-Castro I., Fachini J.M., Oliveira L., Drpic D., Lopes N., Henriques T., Neilson J.R., Carmo A.M., Moreira A.,
CD5 expression is regulated during human T-cell activation by alternative polyadenylation, PTBP1, and miR-204. European Journal of Immunology46(6):1490-1503, 2016. [Journal: Article] [CI: 28] [IF: 4,2]
DOI: 10.1002/eji.201545663 SCOPUS: 84973661630

Duarte-Pereira S., Pereira-Castro I., Silva S.S., Correia M.G., Neto C., da Costa L.T., Amorim A., Silva R.M.,
Extensive regulation of nicotinate phosphoribosyltransferase (NAPRT) expression in human tissues and tumors. Oncotarget7(2):1973-1983, 2016. [Journal: Article] [CI: 50] [IF: 5,2]
DOI: 10.18632/oncotarget.6538 SCOPUS: 84957627325

Nogueira E., Mangialavori I.C., Loureiro A., Azoia N.G., Sárria M.P., Nogueira P., Freitas J., Härmark J., Shimanovich U., Rollett A., Lacroix G., Bernardes G.J.L., Guebitz G., Hebert H., Moreira A., Carmo A.M., Rossi J.P.F.C., Gomes A.C., Preto A., Cavaco-Paulo A.,
Peptide Anchor for Folate-Targeted Liposomal Delivery. Biomacromolecules16(9):2904-2910, 2015. [Journal: Article] [CI: 35] [IF: 5,6]
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biomac.5b00823 SCOPUS: 84941584525

Pinto P.A.B., Henriques T., Freitas M.O., Martins T., Domingues R.G., Wyrzykowska P.S., Coelho P.A., Carmo A.M., Sunkel C.E., Proudfoot N.J., Moreira A.,
RNA polymerase II kinetics in polo polyadenylation signal selection. EMBO Journal30(12):2431-2444, 2011. [Journal: Article] [CI: 102] [IF: 9,2]
DOI: 10.1038/emboj.2011.156 SCOPUS: 79958859723

Pereira F., Duarte-Pereira S., Silva R.M., Da Costa L.T., Pereira-Castro I.,
Evolution of the NET (NocA, Nlz, Elbow, TLP-1) protein family in metazoans: Insights from expression data and phylogenetic analysis. Scientific Reports6:, 2016. [Journal: Article] [CI: 13] [IF: 4,3]
DOI: 10.1038/srep38383 SCOPUS: 85003583805

Ongoing Projects

Increased Production Levels Universal Sequence in SARS-CoV-2 vaccines
Reference: Gilead GENESE 2021 - Proj. 13854 - PO 205012078
Proponent: Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde - Universidade do Porto
Sponsor: Gilead Sciences
From 01-JAN-22 to 31-DEC-24