Current Research

Molecular analysis of Bicc1-specific translational repression

Post-transcriptional control of mRNA is vital during early embryonic development. Before the zygotic genome is active, the embryo must rely entirely on maternally deposited RNA and protein to express genes in the correct location at the correct time. Much of this control is due to translational repression by RNA binding proteins. While translational repression is awidely reported phenomenon, mechanisms of repression are poorly understood. Bicaudal-C (Bicc1), my protein of interest, presents a unique opportunity to analyze mechanisms of repression and relate them to the associated biology. Bicc1 is an RNA binding protein conserved throughout the animal kingdom. In the early Xenopus embryo, maternal Bicc1 protein helps establish body axes by repressing mRNAs of cell fate regulatory proteins. Work from the lab has used several functional assays to identify the region of Bicc1 that is necessary and sufficient for repression, the Bicc1 repression domain (RD). My project expands on this work by using a variety of assays to analyze and define the functions of the RD.