Current Research

Investigating the dynamics of Mer1 regulation of splicing

Splicing is a key RNA processing event in gene expression. The spliceosome, a large complex of proteins and RNA molecules, catalyzes the removal of noncoding introns from RNA and ligation of coding exons to form a messenger RNA transcript. Alternative splicing is a regulated process that leads to multiple transcript variants from the same gene. I am studying the regulation of alternative splicing using Mer1, a protein that enhances the splicing of specific transcripts in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae during meiosis. While it is known that Mer1 binds pre-mRNA and interacts with multiple components of the spliceosome, its exact mechanism of function has yet to be determined. Currently, I am establishing a single-molecule spectroscopy assay for Mer1-regulated splicing. Using this assay will allow me to determine a kinetic mechanism for this process, something that has not yet been determined for any splicing enhancer but is essential for a quantitative understanding of gene expression.