(Photo courtesy of the University of Arizona)
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry - University of Arizona
Host: Walter Moss
"Dropping the Liquid: RNA-Binding Proteins and their Functional Droplets"
Dr. Schwartz’s research believes that RNA-binding proteins are recruited to regulate transcription sometimes through interactions with the mRNA and sometimes through interactions with noncoding RNAs. Outside of the proteins they are characterizing, Tat is the only gene shown to be transcriptionally regulated through RNA interactions. They have a particular interest in RNA-binding proteins that bind noncoding RNAs because since a single RNA-binding protein may bind dozens to hundreds of noncoding RNAs, assigning a function to that RNA-binding protein would therefore assign a function to dozens or hundreds of noncoding RNAs simultaneously.
The RNA-binding proteins that Dr. Schwartz' lab has recently been interested in share a novel low-complexity (LC) domain. Interactions with RNA Pol II and regulation of transcription can be mediated through these LC domains. LC domains also have a unique feature that they form protein assemblies. These protein assemblies form in an RNA-dependent manner and combine to form a phase transition into a hydrogel state. They have shown that these hydrogels are required for regulation of transcription.
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