Gene Regulation by RNA Riboswitches
Greg Muth –Associate Professor and Chair of Chemistry Department
Recent advances in genomics, the mapping of genes and their functions, have provided a wealth of information for researchers. One of the areas that has benefited is the study of gene regulation, the ability of an organism to selectively turn off and on certain genes in response to environmental conditions or at specific times during its lifecycle. Of particular interests are short sequences of mRNA upstream of some genes that are sensitive to the intercellular concentration of certain metabolites. The metabolites appear to bind to and alter the structure of the mRNA. This conformational change affects the transcription and or translation process thus switching the gene either on or off. To better understand the details of these RNA "riboswitches", we are studying the purine riboswitch using a variety of biochemical and biophysical techniques.
The project utilizes interdisciplinary techniques from biochemistry, microbiology, genetics, cell biology and bioinformatics. We will be working jointly with members of Prof. Schwinefus's team.