RNA Processing / Bacterial Programmed Cell Death: Anton Meinhart
Our scientific interest is to understand mRNA processing events, in particular processes that take place at the 3'-end of the RNA. The nascent RNA becomes cleaved and a poly(A) tail is added to the 3'-end, depending on the final purpose of the RNA. Recent research revealed that 3'-end RNA processing is performed by a huge multiprotein complex, the cleavage / polyadenylation machinery. Since 3'-end processing is coupled to mRNA transcription and other mRNA processing events one can suppose that an orchestra of several mulitprotein-complexes build up a conveyor belt for mRNA production and finishing.
Our aim is to gain structural insights into the assembly and function of the cleavage / polyadenylation machinery. Using X-ray protein crystallography techniques combined with Electron Microscopy we plan to establish structural models that can explain how the cleavage / polyadenylation machinery functions at the 3'-end of the mRNA during transcription. We will verify these models with modern biochemical and microbiology methods. Taken together our results will provide structural insight into 3'-end processing of RNA at an atomic level.