The main research area of our laboratory has been to elucidate factors determinant for the control of gene expression. Biological processes can not be fully understood without a deep understanding of RNA metabolism. In 2006 and 2009 three Nobel prizes were dedicated to research in the field of RNA. In our laboratory has been focused in the study of RNA degradation mechanisms and the characterization of enzymes that mediate RNA decay in microorganisms. Namely we have studied RNase II family ribonucleases in the maturation, degradation, and quality control of mRNAs and functional non-coding small RNAs. Our studies have been applied to areas of Biotechnological interest and Health. We have extended our research to eukaryotes to further understand the role of RNases in global regulation. Another area of interest is stress, bacterial cell growth and survival.
The continuous breakdown and resynthesis of prokaryotic mRNA allows for the fast production of new kinds of proteins and best explains the rapid adaptation of micro-organisms to a changing environment. In this way mRNA levels can regulate protein synthesis and cellular growth. However, the inherent instability of prokaryotic mRNA has been one of the main obstacles to the profitable production of proteins of interest in industrial micro-organisms. Prokaryotic mRNAs differ in their susceptibility to degradation by endonucleases and exonucleases that may be due differences in their sequence and structure. The analysis of mRNA degradation has been difficult in all systems and, despite numerous studies, the process of mRNA degradation is still poorly understood. Recent results appear to show that the similarities between mRNA decay in the pro- and eukaryotic systems are greater than were generally believed. It is important to study RNA metabolism in different systems to allow universally conserved features to be recognized. Future work will involve the identification and study of the mechanism of action of more RNases, relating these RNases to the decay of RNAs. The team of C. Arraiano, in close collaboration with international partners, through the use of state-of-the-art technologies such as in vitro systems, functional genomics and RNomics, will continue to contribute to the knowledge of the regulating mechanism of gene expression.
Schaeffer D. et al (2009) The exosome contains domains with specific endoribonuclease, exoribonuclease and cytoplasmic mRNA decay activities. Nature Structural Mol Biol. 16:56-62. This paper was highlighted as very important in A Faculty of 1000 and focused in the News and Views and Research Highlights of the Jan 09 volume of Nat Struc Mol Biol and the Fev 09 volume of Nature Reviews in Molecular and Cell Biology.
Viegas, S.C. et al (2007)Characterization of the role of ribonucleases in Salmonella small RNA decay. Nucleic Acids Research 35:7651-64.
Frazão, C. et al (2006) Unravelling the dynamics of RNA degradation by RNase II and its RNA-bound complex. Nature 443:110-114.
PhD 1989 in Genetics, University of Georgia, Athens, USA
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