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RNA Biology of Protists

Date: 30.11.2015 

Our newly established group studies various aspects of RNA biology of protozoan parasite Trypanosoma brucei and related flagellates. In those early evolved unicellular organisms, most genes are regulated post-transcriptionally. Consequently, post-transcriptional processing of RNA becomes of great importance in order to regulate complex life cycles of these pathogens. We are mainly interested in processes such as tRNA modifications, nuclear tRNA export and role of the only intron-containing tRNA in trypanosomes. Our long term goal is identification of unique mechanisms of RNA metabolism using methods of molecular biology and biochemistry. In addition, we employ RNAi and gene knock-out strategies in order to find RNA metabolic pathways, which are essential for the survival of trypanosomes. We believe this will help us to reveal new drug targets to combat diseases caused by these important parasites.

Figure: Secondary structure of tRNA with highlighted positions (in red) of generally modified nucleotides. Most of the tRNA modifications are present in the anticodon loop, which have crucial role in proper translation of proteins. Some other modifications are responsible for proper folding and amino-acylation of tRNA molecules. 

With the support of MODBIOLIN, the team was able to purchase an important laboratory equipment including – PCR cycler (Biorad), UV documentation system, -80°C freezer, laboratory centrifuges (Eppendorf), pH meter, two laboratory incubators, inverted microscope (Zeiss), four sets of laboratory pipettes (Gilson) etc.

Author: RNDr. Zdeněk Paris Ph.D.

We acknowledge the use of research infrastructure that has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° 316304.


This issue is processed eg. in:

Changmai P, Horáková E, Paris Z, Salmon D, Lukeš J. Simultaneous depletion of Atm1 and Mdl offsets cytosolic Fe-S cluster assembly and tRNA thiolation in Trypanosoma brucei 2015 (FEBS Journal)

Sample P.J., Kořený L., Paris Z., Gaston K.W., Rubio M.A.T., Fleming I.M.C., Hinger S., Horáková E., Limbach P.A., Lukeš J., Alfonzo J.D. 2015. A common tRNA modification at an unusual location: the discovery of wyosine biosynthesis in mitochondria. Nucleic Acid Research 43: 4262–4273

Verner Z, Basu S, Benz C, Dixit S, Dobáková E, Faktorová D, Hashimi H, Horáková E, Huang Z, Paris Z, Pe?a-Diaz P, Ridlon L, Týč J, Wildridge D, Zíková A, Lukeš J. Malleable Mitochondrion of Trypanosoma brucei. Int Rev Cell Mol Biol. 2015 315:73-151

Rubio MA, Paris Z, Gaston KW, Fleming IM, Sample P, Trotta CR, Alfonzo JD. Unusual Noncanonical Intron Editing Is Important for tRNA splicing in Trypanosoma brucei. Mol Cell. 2013 52: 184–92

Paris Z, Horáková E, Rubio MA, Sample P, Fleming IM, Armocida S, Lukeš J, Alfonzo JD. The T. brucei TRM5 methyltransferase plays an essential role in mitochondrial protein synthesis and function. RNA. 2013 19:649–58




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