Regulation of gene expression is fundamental for cell homeostasis and
invariably leads to severe human pathogenesis when defective. Therefore,
novel treatment strategies for a number of different diseases may depend
on our ability to exploit mechanisms that normally alter the expression
of endogenous genes.
While historically, gene regulation studies have
mostly focused on transcription, it has recently become evident that
post-transcriptional levels of control play an equally important role.
From the very onset of transcription, mRNAs have a complex existence:
they are bound by the abundant shuttling hnRNPs proteins, processed at
their 5- and 3 ends (capping, poly-adenylation), internally processed
and modified (splicing, editing,
), subjected to various nuclear quality
controls (tested for the absence of premature stops,
), routed to the
nuclear pore complex, translocated to the cytoplasm, translated (and/or
stored) and eventually degraded. All these events are intimately
fine-tuned and co-ordinated to ensure that
Only 'proper' mRNAs are translated at the correct time and place.
Our laboratory studies different aspects of postranscriptional gene
regulation with a particular focus on the translation and stability
control of mRNA containing so called AU-rich elements.