Anders VirtanenDepartment of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology, Uppsala University. Home Page
Research: RNA Biology in Eukaryotes
It has become evident during the past few years that RNA plays a much
more vital role in all living organisms than initially anticipated, when
it was believed that the only role of RNA was to physically convey
genetic information stored in DNA to functionally acting proteins. Today
it is clear that RNA, besides being the physical link between DNA and
protein, plays several other key roles i.e. structural, functional,
regulatory and informational roles. At the heart of the processes
regulating RNA function in all living organisms are the reactions
synthesizing, modifying, re-organizing and degrading RNA. We study
primarily enzymes involved in regulating the fate of mRNA. For our
studies we use experimental systems based on mammalian and Drosophila
cells. A main goal is to understand how mRNA turnover/degradation,
through the mRNA specific cap and poly(A) tail, is integrated with other
essential mechanisms of gene expression/regulation. Another goal is to
identify previously unrecognized small non-coding RNAs (ncRNA) and to
determine their functions.
Our studies will be of importance for our general understanding of mechanisms controlling the fate of eukaryotic mRNA. Our current and earlier studies on the interaction between RNA metabolizing enzymes and small ligands (e.g. the cap structure, aminoglycosides) have importance for the development of novel pharmaceutical drugs, specifically new antibiotics.
Five Selected Publications
Mikkelsen, N.E., Johansson, K., Virtanen, A., and Kirsebom, L.A.
(2001). Aminoglycoside binding displaces a divalent metal ion in a
tRNA-neomycin B complex. Nat. Struct. Biol. 8, 510-514.
Martinez, J., Ren, Y., Nilsson, P., Ehrenberg, M. and Virtanen, A. (2001). The mRNA m7GpppG cap structure stimulates poly(A) removal and amplifies processivity of degradation. J. Biol. Chem. 276, 27923-27929.
Kyriakopoulou, C., Nordvarg, H. and Virtanen, A. (2001). A novel nuclear human poly(A) polymerase, PAPg. J. Biol. Chem. 276, 33504-33511.
Ren, Y., Kirsebom, L. A. and Virtanen, A. (2004) Coordination of divalent metal ions in the active site of poly(A)-specific rinuclease. J. Biol. Chem. 279, 48702-48706.
Balatsos, N.A.A., Nilsson, A., Mazza, C., Cusack, S. and Virtanen, A. (2006). Inhibition of mRNA deadenylation by the nuclear cap binding complex (CBC). J. Biol. Chem. 281, 4571-4522.