Elizabeth Grayhack, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Grayhack, Ph.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box 712
Rochester, NY 14642

Office: (585) 275-2765
Fax: (585) 275-6007

Research Bio

Translation of the genetic code from triplet codons in mRNAs into the amino acids in proteins determines the protein composition in the cell. The translation process influences the amount of each protein, the errors within each protein, as well as programmed deviations that affect the protein sequence. Although accurate and efficient translation of mRNA into proteins is crucially important for the cell, there are substantial differences in translation caused by the choice of synonymous codons used to encode a polypeptide. Synonymous codons specify insertion of the identical amino acid, but differ from each other in the amounts of tRNA available to decode the codon as well as the need for wobble base pairing between the codon and the anticodon of the tRNA.

The goal of research in the Grayhack laboratory is to define the rules and mechanisms by which specific arrangements of codons impair translation in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and to identify regulatory models dictated by codon usage in the yeast genome. Although codon use has been implicated as a determinant of expression levels, neither the identity, nor the defining characteristics of codons that impair expression are known. We demonstrated that translation of CGA codon pairs is remarkably inefficient due to wobble decoding, which implicated interactions between sites in the ribosome and the ribosome decoding process as mediators of translation efficiency. We are currently examining the mechanisms by which CGA codon pairs modulate translation and defining novel codon combinations that reduce translation efficiency.

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 35 available »

2015 May
Wolf AS, Grayhack EJ. "Asc1, homolog of human RACK1, prevents frameshifting in yeast by ribosomes stalled at CGA codon repeats." RNA. 2015 May; 21(5):935-45. Epub 2015 Mar 19.
Quivey RG, Grayhack EJ, Faustoferri RC, Hubbard CJ, Baldeck JD, Wolf AS, MacGilvray ME, Rosalen PL, Scott-Anne K, Santiago B, Gopal S, Payne J, Marquis RE. "Functional profiling in Streptococcus mutans: construction and examination of a genomic collection of gene deletion mutants." Molecular oral microbiology. 2015 30(6):474-95. Epub 2015 Jun 19.
2014 Aug 1
Guy MP, Young DL, Payea MJ, Zhang X, Kon Y, Dean KM, Grayhack EJ, Mathews DH, Fields S, Phizicky EM. "Identification of the determinants of tRNA function and susceptibility to rapid tRNA decay by high-throughput in vivo analysis." Genes & development. 2014 Aug 1; 28(15):1721-32.
2013 Sep
Letzring DP, Wolf AS, Brule CE, Grayhack EJ. "Translation of CGA codon repeats in yeast involves quality control components and ribosomal protein L1." RNA. 2013 Sep; 19(9):1208-17. Epub 2013 Jul 03.
2013 Jul 24
Grant TD, Luft JR, Wolfley JR, Snell ME, Tsuruta H, Corretore S, Quartley E, Phizicky EM, Grayhack EJ, Snell EH. "The structure of yeast glutaminyl-tRNA synthetase and modeling of its interaction with tRNA." Journal of molecular biology. 2013 Jul 24; 425(14):2480-93. Epub 2013 Apr 10.

Current Appointments

Associate Professor - Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics (SMD) - Primary
Associate Professor - Department of Pediatrics (SMD)
Associate Professor - Cancer Center


PhD | Biology | Cornell University1981
BA | Chemistry | Lawrence University1974