I am interested in engaging students in my quest to understand how the expression of genes is regulated by cell-mediated changes, specifically changes involving the stability and translation of messenger RNA (mRNA). I have several potential projects based in a wonderful model system (that also makes the lab smell pretty good!). Using bakers' yeast, the lab can employ easily accessible molecular and genetic approaches to understand the cellular biochemistry of specialized mRNA degradation pathway, the so-called nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD). NMD is part of the natural repertoire for regulating gene expression, based on the recent demonstration that 6-9% of the wild-type mRNAs in yeast accumulate when NMD is inactivated1.
We have identified several mRNAs affected by NMD that are interesting because they encode proteins, which affect chromosome function at either the centromere or telomere2,3. Available projects include; 1) using decay rate measurements accomplished by quantitative methods for analyzing mRNA abundance (Northern blot) to investigate the mechanism of the NMD effect upon substrate mRNAs and 2) using genetics and Northern blot measurements to identify substrate mRNAs. In addition, a third project exists that involves using enzymatic assays and growth tests to investigate the affects upon translation of mutations in protein required NMD.
1 Lelivelt, M.J. and M.R. Culbertson (1999) Mol. Cell. Biol.
2 Dahlseid, J.N., Puziss, J., Shirley, R.L., Atkin, A.L., Hieter, P. and Culbertson, M.R. 1998. Genetics 150: 1019-1035.
3 Dahlseid, J.N., Lew-Smith, J.E., Lelivelt, M.J., Enomoto, S., Ford, A., Desruisseaux, M., McClellen, M., Lue, N.,Culbertson, M.R., Berman, J. 2003. Eukaryotic Cell 2: 134-142.
With Prior Project Support from the National Science Foundation
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. 0091300 and 0326029. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recomendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.