Beate Schwer   Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

Phone
  • +1 212 746 6518

PRE-mRNA PROCESSING

The precise removal of intervening sequences from primary transcripts by splicing is an essential step in the production of functional messenger RNA in every eukaryotic cell. Our goal is to understand the mechanisms of pre-mRNA splicing and the molecular interactions involved. Our studies employ the powerful techniques available in the yeast S. cerevisiae. The immediate objectives are: (1) to identify and characterize splicing factors and (2) to elucidate critical protein/RNA and protein/protein interactions within the splicing complex (spliceosome). We are particularly interested in understanding how RNA-dependent ATPases and RNA helicases, such as Prp16 and Prp22, affect conformational rearrangements in the spliceosome, essential to drive the splicing reaction forward and to ensure fidelity. Our studies focus on the second step of splicing; this step encompasses the recognition of the 3' splice site and the joining of the exons. We have developed assay systems to halt the reaction at various distinct stages during step 2; activity can be restored by the addition of purified components. Our studies demonstrated that in response to ATP hydrolysis by Prp16, several protein factors (i.e. Slu7, Prp22, Ssf1) enter the spliceosome. They play roles in the selection of the 3' splice site and are essential for the formation of mature mRNA. The biochemical characterization of second step factors is complemented by genetic approaches. These take advantage of our collection of mutants in individual components; genetic interactions identify likely physical and functional connections not only between splicing factors, but also between splicing factors and components of other pre-mRNA processing machineries.

Publications

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Grants awarded

  • Structure-Function Analysis of Spliceosomal ATPases  awarded by National Institute of General Medical Sciences Principal Investigator 2008 - 2012
  • RNA Caps and Meiotic Pre-mRNA Splicing  awarded by National Institute of General Medical Sciences Principal Investigator 2013 -
  • mRNA Capping Enzymes  awarded by National Institute of General Medical Sciences Principal Investigator Subaward 2012 - 2016
  • Deciphering the RNA Polymerase II CTD Code  awarded by National Institute of General Medical Sciences Principal Investigator Subaward 2016 -

Background

Contact

full name

  • Dr. Beate Schwer,

primary email

  • bschwer@med.cornell.edu

Other

Primary Affiliation

  • Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University