Research Department Structural Cell Biology
Structural Studies, RNA Transport, RNA Surveillance, RNA Degradation
The regulation of gene expression is of fundamental importance to all living organisms and relies on the ability of cells to control the quality and quantity of their RNA repertoire. Eukaryotic cells have an extraordinarily large number of RNA molecules that have different functions. The group of Elena Conti studies the cellular control mechanisms that monitor and eliminate RNA molecules that are either no longer needed or are aberrant because of deleterious genomic mutations or errors in their production. Over the past years, Conti’s group has deciphered the atomic structures and biochemical mechanisms of large macromolecular complexes involved in RNA recognition and degradation, such as the exosome and deadenylation complexes. Current work aims at understanding how the RNA degradation machinery is physically coupled and coordinated with the translation machinery.
The department is equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure that is maintained and organized in facilities providing support for eukaryotic expression, biophysical characterization and automated crystallization.