Functions & Mechanisms of RNA Modifications
Our long-range goal is to elucidate the underlying biological principles and functional roles of posttranscriptional RNA modifications. Currently, we are particularly interested in 2'-O-methylation and pseudouridylation in three different types of RNA, including the spliceosomal snRNA involved in pre-mRNA splicing, the telomerase RNA required for telomere length maintenance, and the messenger RNA that encodes a chemical
blueprint for the production of a protein.
June 15, 2011
In a new study published today in the journal Nature, scientists discovered an entirely new way to change the genetic code. The findings, though early, are significant because they may ultimately help researchers alter the course of devastating genetic disorders, such as cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and many forms of cancer.
This is a very exciting finding, said Yi-Tao Yu, Ph.D., lead study author and associate professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the Medical Center.
No one ever imagined that you could alter a stop codon the way we have and allow translation to continue uninterrupted like it was never there in the first place.
Our recent research has demonstrated that all these three types of RNA can be modified in vivo, either naturally or artificially through the RNA-guided RNA modification mechanisms. Importantly, our experimental data indicate that the posttranscriptional nucleotide modifications contribute significantly to RNA functions. We are currently carrying out three projects, aiming to address some of the fundamental questions regarding RNA modifications.
- Synthesis and labeling of RNA in vitro. Curr Protoc Mol Biol. Chapter 4, Unit4.15. (2013 Apr 01).
- RNA pseudouridylation: new insights into an old modification. Trends Biochem Sci. 38, 210-8. (2013 Apr 01).
- Inducing nonsense suppression by targeted pseudouridylation. Nat Protoc. 7, 789-800. (2012 Apr 01).