Biomolecules are exquisitely adept at molecular recognition and self-assembly, enabling them to direct all of the processes that make life possible. These capabilities have been fine-tuned by billions of years of evolution, and more recently, have been harnessed in the laboratory to enable the use of biomolecules for applications beyond their canonical biological roles. The common thread that is woven throughout our research program is the utilization of nucleic acid molecular recognition and self-assembly to address unmet needs in biomedicine and the environment. We have developed RNA sequences that recognize specific small molecule fluorophores and catalyze covalent self-labeling, and research is ongoing to utilize these selflabeling ribozymes for imaging of RNA in living cells and transcript-specific capture of RNAbinding proteins. We have also demonstrated the modulation of EndoV activity to enable selective enrichment of inosine-containing RNAs, which we anticipate will lead to the identification of new A-to-I editing sites.
Speaker: Jen Heemstra, Emory University
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