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Our research aims to understand mechanisms regulating RNA Polymerase II and 

co-transcriptional RNA processing in normal and diseased eukaryotic cells

  • Oncoproteins in the regulation of the transcriptional cycle

    • how gene expression is controlled in healthy and cancer cells

    • regulation of transcription elongation 

    • the molecular mechanisms driving carcinogenesis

    The human protein CREPT (Cell cycle-Related and expression-Elevated Protein in Tumor) is a proto-oncogene interacting with the C-terminal domain (CTD) of RNA Polymerase II which has been shown to be overexpressed in 80% of cancers. Our goal is to understand the functions of CREPT and his interactors in the regulation of gene expression.

  • Molecular mechanisms of Prader-Willi Syndrome 

    • processing of non-coding RNA 

    • functions of ncRNA in neuronal development

    • regulation of gene expression in PWS 

    Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder recognized as the most common genetic cause of life-threatening obesity. In our project, we study the impact of PWS-related ncRNAs on gene expression in induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). Our approach will allow to understand how ncRNA regulate neuronal development. 

  • Roles for mRNA capping in transcription

    • cross-talk between nascent RNA and Pol II

    • hallmarks of mRNA synthesis

    • phosphorylation of Pol II CTD

    All transcripts generated by RNA Polymerase II are capped at their 5' ends by capping enzymes recruited to the CTD of  Pol II. The cap protects RNA from 5'-3' degradation and is essential for mRNA export and translation. Our research aims to elucidate how the presence of the cap influences transcribing RNA Polymerase II and regulates the transcriptional cycle. 

  • RNA processing in cellular stress response

    • transcriptional response strategies

    • synthesis of coding and non-coding RNA

    • cellular stress in diseased cells

    Immediate adaption of cell physiology in response to external and internal stressors is crucial for cell survival. Unusual processing pathways for stress-induced mRNAs are crucial in this process. We investigate how the mRNA 3’ processing factors contribute to the cellular stress response to learn how cells survive and fight off extreme and pathological conditions. 

  • Novel antiviral agents: supramolecular RNA cylinders

    • probing of RNA structures

    • drug development

    • restrictions of RNA viruses

    The recent SARS-CoV-2 pandemic revealed how societies are vulnerable to virus outbreaks. Our lab collaborates with prof Micheal Hannon from the Department of Chemistry, UoB on novel class of nano-agents (Supramolecular cylinders) that bind RNA bulges in the untranslated regions of viruses and affect high-order RNA structures essential for viral life cycle

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