RNA granules: from composition to function
The intracellular localisation of mRNAs must be strictly regulated, to avoid untimed decay or translation. RNA granules, large protein-RNA aggregates, are probably key-players in this regulation. Prominent examples are P-bodies, which are constitutively present and stress granules, which form in response to stress. RNA granules are present in all eukaryotes, but their function remains poorly understood.
In my lab, we are analysing RNA granules in the model system Trypanosoma brucei. The parasite offers some unique advantages, such as almost complete reliance on posttranscriptional control mechanisms and some unique features that facilitate granule purification. An overview about the different RNA granule types in trypanosomes is shown below. Further information can be found here
We have employed different biochemical approaches to purify RNA granules and determine the granule’s protein and RNA composition. Now, we are exploiting these datasets with the aim to gain insight into granule function and the mechanisms that are responsible for granule formation. We use a mixture of biological, molecular biological and biochemical methods. We hope that our research will contribute towards a better understanding of RNA granules and posttranscriptional control mechanisms, in trypanosomes and elsewhere.