My group has a longstanding interest in structure and function in enzyme-nucleic acid interactions, with a particular focus on the enzymology of transcription. To understand fundamental mechanisms in the complex process of transcription, we have mostly focused our work on the single subunit model RNA polymerase from bacteriophage T7.
In addition to serving as a model system, T7 RNA polymerase is widely used as a tool to synthesize RNA in vitro. This is critical to the vast “RNA world” of academic researchers, and particularly critical in the growing field of RNA therapeutics. Full development of the latter is hampered by an unintended immune response evoked by, we believe, RNA byproducts in the RNA of interest.
Using new applications of RNA-Seq (massively parallel sequencing of in vitro transcription products), we have recently demonstrated that “high yield” transcription conditions drive rebinding of nascent RNA to the polymerase, in a mode that allows self-templated extension of the RNA to form longer, partially double-stranded products. The self-templated extension is independent of DNA and is highly sequence dependent.
We are now developing mechanism-based approaches towards the synthesis of RNA with much great purity (and yield!). Adding the tool of RNA-Seq, which provides far more information than traditional gel electrophoresis, we are expanding our understanding of and characterizing fully a variety of aspects of the transcription process. We anticipate huge impacts across the rapidly expanding RNA universe!
Learn more at https://martinlab.chem.umass.edu
- BA University of California/San Diego
- PhD California Institute of Technology 1984
- Postdoctoral Training: NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship, Yale University 1985-1988,