Grant: $453,458 - National Science Foundation - Jun. 17, 2009
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Award Description: In this research, the complex role of dynamics in the association of RRM-RNA complexes will be investigated. The RNA recognition motif (RRM) is a ubiquitous RNA binding protein that is found in all organisms and is involved in all steps of gene expression. Thus, an understanding of RRM-RNA binding is fundamental to a complete description of gene expression. Conformational changes of both protein and RNA upon binding are a general phenomenon in RNA-protein recognition, including RNA-RRM recognition. The specific goals of this project are to develop a general approach for investigating dynamic processes in RRM-RNA complexes using time-resolved fluorescence methods supported by molecular dynamics simulations. This approach will then be used to investigate more complex biological systems involving RRMs. An essential component of the proposed studies is the investigation of the dynamics of a series of modified proteins and RNA targets in two different RRM proteins in order to determine the contribution of protein and RNA sequence to dynamic processes involved in binding and identify general principles of RRM-RNA recognition. Broader Impacts: This research will have broader impacts in the education of three types of students: research students, chemistry students in Vietnam, and high school chemistry teachers. First, the graduate and undergraduate students directly involved in the proposed work will benefit greatly from the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of the project. The impact of the proposed research will extend beyond these students, as it will be part of a larger comprehensive research program in the laboratory and also will contribute positively to students' education in the collaborating laboratories. Second, the PI will be involved in a project with Hanoi University in Vietnam. This program involves visiting professors from Vietnam attending classes taught by the PI at the University of Illinois, travel of the PI to Vietnam to teach organic chemistry, and Vietnamese students working in the PI's laboratory during summers. Third, the PI is participating in an NSF-funded Math and Science Partnership project entitled 'Institute for Chemistry Literacy through Computational Science'. This program creates a partnership between Illinois faculty and rural high school teachers to broadly improve teachers' and students' understanding of chemistry across the state of Illinois. The PI teaches in a 2-week Summer Institute, where the high school teachers participate in full-day workshops. The PI is involved weekly in serving as a mentor to a group of 7 high school teachers using a bulletin board-type communication system.
Project Description: This project is supporting two graduate research assistants who are performing experiments relevant to investigating the problems that are the focus of this research grant. The work of the graduate research assistants is essential to this project. Progress has been made in performing experiments to investigate the dynamic dissociation of the U1A progein from its RNA target site, SL2 RNA. We are completing stop-flow experiments and data analysis in order to submit for publication the first investigation of the kinetics of dissociation of the U1A-SL2 RNA complex. We have begun constructing mutants of this protein for future experiments. We also have begun expressing and purifying a new protein to study by these methods. The subaward to Wesleyan University will be funding computational approaches to understanding dynamics of association. In addition, new computational methods are being developed to understand induced fit and allosteric processes.
Infrastructure Description: N/A
Jobs Summary: The project funded by the Recovery Act funds has enabled me to employ two graduate research assistants. These assistants have performed the experiments relevant to investigating the problems that are the focus of this research grant. These graduate research assistants are essential to this project, and without them there would be no one performing experiments to complete the project. (Total jobs reported: 1)
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Jun. 17, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.