Medical Research

Colorado State University

Timothy J. Stasevich, Brian Munsky
Fort Collins, CO
$1,200,000
June 2016

Translation of RNA to protein is a tightly regulated process that is fundamental to life.  It is also one of the first processes that viruses hijack to replicate themselves in host cells.  The molecular details of this hijacking remain poorly understood, as does the regulation of normal translation in vivo.  Despite its undisputed importance in every biological and biomedical system, translation has never been measured in real-time within living cells.  Two Colorado State University investigators will combine state-of-the-art single-molecule microscopy with RNA and protein tags and sophisticated computational modeling to quantify the expression and translation of a multitude of different RNA transcripts in real-time in living cells.  The technological advances developed in this project will also make it possible to discover and quantify ribosomal frameshifting, a mechanism which allows distinctly different proteins to be translated from the same RNA strand and which is exploited by viruses for their replication.  These results will help the biomedical community to better understand, control and predict the process of translation as it normally occurs in cells and when cells are infected by viruses.

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