Ph.D., Physics, University of Rochester
RNA based regulation of gene expression. RNA-protein interaction. Thermodynamics of DNA and RNA structural motifs
Current research is directed at understanding the interaction of the RNA-binding protein Hfq with short regulatory RNAs and its specific RNA target sites. Short non-coding regulatory RNAs (sRNA) are important elements in the regulation of gene expression for bacteria. Hfq is a bacterial RNA-binding protein that facilitates the hybridization of sRNAs to their target regions on specific mRNAs. Hfq is highly conserved in bacterial phyla and has been shown to be a virulence factor in several bacterial species. The interactions of wild type and mutant Hfq proteins with specific RNAs are being examined. Biochemical/biophysical methods such as qPCR, electrophoresis mobility shift assays and fluorescence spectroscopy are being employed. Another collaborative research project involving small regulatory RNAs is exploring the role of ‘microRNAs’ (21-24 bp long) on the stages of embryo development of loblolly pine.
A second area of research is directed at improving the understanding of factors governing the stability and conformation of RNA and DNA sequences. The ability to predict RNA structure from sequence for structure function studies depends in large measure on thermodynamic parameters of known RNA structural motifs such as internal loops, base mismatches, and base bulges. DNA hybridization is also a key factor in many biotechnology applications. UV absorbance monitored transitions and temperature gradient gel electrophoresis are being employed to determine the stability and conformational switching of structural motifs in RNA and DNA.
Mohan S, Hsiao C, VanDeusen H, Gallagher R, Krohn E, Kalahar B, Wartell RM, Williams LD. Mechanism of RNA double helix-propagation at atomic resolution. J Phys Chem B. 2009 Mar 5;113(9):2614-23.
Galyuk EN, Wartell RM, Dosin YM, Lando DY. DNA denaturation under freezing in alkaline medium. J Biomol Struct Dyn. 2009 Feb;26(4):517-23.
Mohan S, Hsiao C, Vandeusen H, Gallagher R, Krohn E, Kalahar B, Wartell RM, Williams LD. Mechanism of RNA Double Helix-Propagation at Atomic Resolution (dagger). J Phys Chem B. 2009 Jan 7.
Updegrove T, Wilf N, Sun X, Wartell RM. Effect of Hfq on RprA-rpoS mRNA pairing: Hfq-RNA binding and the influence of the 5’ rpoS mRNA leader region. Biochemistry. 2008 Oct 28;47(43):11184-95. Epub 2008 Oct 1.
Oh TJ, Wartell RM, Cairney J, Pullman GS. Evidence for stage-specific modulation of specific microRNAs (miRNAs) and miRNA processing components in zygotic embryo and female gametophyte of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). New Phytol. 2008;179(1):67-80. Epub 2008 Apr 22.