Structure, Function & Evolution of Ribonucleoprotein Assemblies
The Mura lab employs experimental and computational approaches to understand the structure, function/dynamics, and evolution of RNA- and DNA-based protein assemblies. In particular, we seek a deeper understanding of Sm-based ribonucleoprotein (RNP) assemblies — What these protein/RNA complexes look like at atomic resolution (structure, such as shown below), their assembly pathways and dynamical behavior (function), and the interrelationships between Sm and Sm-like systems (evolution).
Discovered as the antigens in the autoimmune disease lupus, Sm proteins are now known to form a broad, evolutionarily-conserved family that play key roles in most aspects of RNA metabolism (including mRNA splicing), as well as in bacterial cell-cell communication networks (“quorum sensing”). Sm-based complexes such as the spliceosome exceed the ribosome in terms of both size and architectural complexity, thereby providing an immensely rich area for ongoing studies. Current work focuses on Sm systems drawn from both a well-established context (splicing) and a more recently emerging area (quorum sensing) that is of major biomedical significance because of its involvement in biofilm-mediated bacterial pathogenesis. The research program being developed to pursue this work is necessarily highly interdisciplinary, relying particularly heavily on methods from structural biology (e.g., crystallography) and computational chemistry (e.g., molecular dynamics simulations), in addition to traditional wet-lab biochemistry.
An Introduction to Biomolecular Simulations and Docking. Mura C & CE McAnany. Molecular Simulation, in press, 1–33 (2014).
Archaeal and Eukaryotic Homologs of Hfq: A Structural and Evolutionary Perspective on Sm Function. Mura C, Randolph PS, Patterson J, & AE Cozen. RNA Biology, 10(4), 608–623 (2013).
Rapid Colorimetric Assays to Qualitatively Distinguish RNA and DNA in Biomolecular Samples. Patterson J & C Mura. Journal of Visualized Experiments, 72, e50225, 1–10 (2013).
A Lightweight, Flow-based Toolkit for Parallel and Distributed Bioinformatics Pipelines. Cieślik M & C Mura. BMC Bioinformatics, 12: 1–11 (2011).
Abstractions, Algorithms and Data Structures for Structural Bioinformatics in PyCogent. Cieślik M, Derewenda ZS, & C Mura. Journal of Applied Crystallography, 44(2): 424–8 (2011).
Molecular Dynamics of Potential rRNA Binders: Single-stranded Nucleic Acids and Some Analogues. Panecka J, Mura C & J Trylska. Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 115: 7794–7806 (2011).
See more: PubMed | arXiv | labSite (not all publications are PubMed-indexed)