Regulation of gene expression by small RNAs

Professor Carolyn Phillips
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Southern California
Friday, February 15, 2019 - 11:00am
Ramsay Wright Building, Room 432
Departmental Seminar
RNA silencing is a critically important mechanism through which cells regulate gene expression and protect the genome against aberrant RNAs, transposons, and viruses. RNA silencing is mediated by small non-coding RNAs, which are bound by Argonaute proteins and regulate complementary mRNAs at the level of transcription, translation, and RNA stability. The goal of my lab is to understand how small RNAs function and with what proteins they interact to exert their regulatory activity. First, we aim to understand where Argonaute and other RNA silencing proteins localize subcellularly and how this localization is achieved. We will further interrogate how this localization contributes to mRNA silencing. Finally, since there are multiple Argonaute proteins and different classes of small regulatory RNAs, we will determine how each Argonaute protein recognizes and binds the correct small regulatory RNAs. This sorting is critical so that the correct small RNAs are used to guide RNA silencing. Ultimately, this work will inform our understanding of Argonaute protein localization and how Argonaute proteins interact with specific classes of small RNAs to confer specificity and context to the different branches of the RNA silencing pathway both in C. elegans and in other systems.
Professor Arneet Saltzman
Dept of Cell and Systems Biology