Molecule of the Month
August 2015
Who wants to live forever?
Vault RNA protects from cell death

Non-protein-coding RNAs (ncRNA) are key players in controlling gene expression at multiple steps in all domains of life. Here we reveal the vault RNA, a highly conserved ncRNA in mammals, to protect human cancer cells from programmed cell death (apoptosis).
We demonstrate that vault RNA expression is triggered in human B cells upon Epstein-Barr-Virus (EBV) infection via the NF-κB pathway. This is the first reported ncRNA capable of modulating cell death pathways in human cancer cells.

This work was carried out by Birgit Nachbauer and colleagues in the group of Prof. Norbert Polacek.


  • M. Amort, B. Nachbauer, S. Tuzlak, A. Kieser, A. Schepers, A. Villunger, N. Polacek;
    "Expression of the vault RNA protects cells from undergoing apoptosis"
    Nature Communications, 6, 7030/1-11, (2015); doi:10.1038/ncomms8030.