Skip to Main Content

Dr. Lydia Contreras

University of Texas- Austin

March 15th, 2019 – Spring Seminar

Time and Location: Noon in Meyerhoff Chemistry, Room 120

Host: Dr. Mike Summers

“Novel Insights into Regulatory RNAs Using Novel High-throughput Tools in Vivo”

Regulatory RNAs enable living systems to dynamically respond to stresses caused by changes in environmental conditions. These global regulators enable responses to diverse and rapidly changing environmental stimuli by affecting vast networks of targets at, frequently, multiple biological levels. Given their relevance to pathogenesis and their potential to manage global regulatory networks that affect biological production of industrially relevant compounds, understanding their functions is a goal in both medicine and metabolic engineering. Given the importance of molecular structure to RNA functioning, fundamental RNA characterization and applied engineering efforts depend heavily on the understanding and design of their specific shapes and on the retargeting of specific binding partners. Specifically, knowledge of the RNA structural landscape supports identification of interfaces relevant to regulation. In this talk, we will describe our recent advances in developing high throughput approaches that allow for the simultaneous in vivo characterization of thousands of potential interacting interfaces in RNA molecules. We will describe how RNA structural insights obtained from this synthetic probing approach can be used in the fundamental characterization of newly discovered RNAs and in the discovery of novel RNA mechanisms. The talk will also highlight our use of these methods for the rational design of large collections of RNAs to achieve a tunable gradient of global control for various applications.