Zoom link: https://mcgill.zoom.us/j/85896230440
Single-molecule and super-resolution microscopies have significantly empowered our ability in probing biological activities with high spatial and temporal resolutions and in live cells. Regulatory RNAs play important roles in regulating gene expression in bacteria, in response to various external signals or stresses. Regulatory RNAs can act both in cis and trans. Cis-regulatory RNAs, specifically the riboswitches, are localized upstream of the controlled mRNAs, and can affect the transcription or translation of the mRNAs upon binding of specific ligands; whereas trans-regulatory RNAs, specifically small RNAs (sRNAs), recognize their target mRNAs through base-pairing interactions and affect the translation and the stability of the bound mRNAs. In my presentation, I will share our results on the ligand binding mechanism of a special riboswitch, the T-box element, which recognizes uncharged tRNAs as oppose to other small molecule binding riboswitches, using single-molecule fluorescence microscopy. In addition, I will present how Hfq proteins, one of the key effector proteins of sRNA, dynamically interact with mRNAs and sRNAs in live cells, and regulate mRNA stability in addition to the sRNA-mediated pathways.
Dr. Jingyi Fei is an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at The University of Chicago. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in chemical physics from the University of Science and Technology of China, and received her Ph.D. in chemistry from Columbia University. She was then a postdoctoral fellow at the NSF funded Center for the Physics of Living Cells at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Fei started her independent career at The University of Chicago in 2016.
Dr. Fei’s research lies at the interface of chemistry, physics and biology, with focus to understand the mechanisms by which RNAs and RNA binding proteins mediate gene expression and regulation in both bacterial and eukaryotic systems. In addition to the fundamental biological questions, her lab is also interested in the development of new labeling, imaging and data analysis methods. Dr. Fei is an awardee of the Searle Scholars and the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award.