Jennifer A. Doudna, University of California, Berkeley, "Dicing and Beyond: Regulatory RNA in Humans and Bacteria"

Mar 29 2011, 11:00 am
Distinguished Lecture Series Guest Speaker: 

Jennifer A. Doudna

Howard Hughes Investigator and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Department of Molecular and Cell Biology
University of California, Berkeley

Date & Time: 
Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 11:00AM
Klaus 1116E
Jeffrey Skolnick
In eukaryotic cells, small RNA molecules regulate the expression of many genes. The enzyme Dicer plays a central role in producing these RNAs and ensuring that they assemble with other proteins into effector complexes. Recent findings show that Dicer and its partner RNA binding proteins can alter miRNA processing to change the set of mRNAs targeted for silencing. Although Dicer homologs do not occur in prokaryotic cells, bacteria possess distinct sets of enzymes that produce short RNA molecules to block the propagation of viral and plasmid sequences. In bacteria, these regulatory RNAs are produced from clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs). I will discuss our recent work to uncover the molecular basis for small RNA production and targeting. We also find interesting similarities in the thermodynamics of target recognition between RNAi-type and CRISPR-type systems.
Additional Info: 

Research Interests: RNA molecules are uniquely capable of encoding and controlling the expression of genetic information, often as a consequence of their three-dimensional structures. We are interested in understanding RNA-mediated initiation of protein synthesis, and RNA-protein complexes involved in targeting proteins for export out of cells. We are also investigating the early steps in gene regulation by RNA interference.

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