Characterization of Bacterial Small RNAs
Janice Pellino – Assistant Professor
Also pictured is Christopher Roberts
RNAs are key molecules in many cellular processes, acting as information carriers, structural scaffolds, and even catalysts. The recent discovery of a set of gene control pathways that respond to non-coding RNA has revolutionized the way many of us do and think about science. However, many questions remain regarding these small non-coding RNAs, particularly in bacteria. Recent computational studies have identified hundreds of small non-coding RNAs (sRNAs) in bacterial genomes. In the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli) alone, close to 100 small RNAs have been identified, however, the function of the majority of these sRNAs remains unknown. A greater understanding of how these sRNAs regulate gene expression in E. coli, and by extension the closely related bacterium Salmonella typhimurium, could provide insight into these bacteria’s mechanisms of survival and infectivity. I am studying several bacterial small RNAs to characterize their structures, how they interact with their targets, and their cellular roles. This project combines techniques in biochemistry, molecular biology, biophysics, and genetics.