RNA-DECO: Decorating RNA for a purpose

Roles of A-to-I editing in dsRNA recognition

As part of the Austria-wide Special Research Programme RNA-DECO (SFB F80), our group works to address the biophysical consequences of adenosine-to-inosine (A-to-I) RNA editing – a prevalent type of post-transcriptional modification in mammalian cells. More information can be found at the RNA-DECO website:

Regulation of mammalian transcription by noncoding RNA

Transcription is a fundamental cellular process that allows the expression of the genetic information stored in genes; its misregulation can lead to developmental arrest or disease. The products of transcription are messenger RNAs, which encode proteins, and noncoding RNAs, which have a large variety of functions. Messenger RNAs are transcribed by the multi-subunit protein enzyme RNA polymerase II through a highly regulated process. The first step of transcription is initiation, which requires RNA polymerase II and many other proteins to come together at a promoter to form a preinitiation complex. 

Whereas the functions of many protein regulators of transcription have been clarified, RNA-based mechanisms of regulation are less well understood. In this project, we plan to investigate the interactions of RNA polymerase II and a minimal transcription preinitation complex with inhibitory noncoding RNAs. Through the use of state-of-the art cryo-electron microscopy techniques, we will determine the three-dimensional structures of these complexes. Biochemical experiments will be performed to test the insights gained from the structures, and to further address how these complexes would be destabilized in the cell. This work will provide a new understanding of the mechanisms by which noncoding RNA regulates transcription.

Project members: Katarina Tluckova, Anita Salmazo