Since their first discovery in the early 60’s, research on tRNAs has always been interconnected with the evolution of the genetic code and translation. Today, more than ever, it is evident that tRNA research continues to reveal new and surprising aspects of cellular metabolism. Research on the role of tRNAs as unique adaptor molecules has revolutionized synthetic biology. Moreover, new information emerge from studies on tRNA biogenesis, processing, editing, transfer and localization, the recognition of tRNA by aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases and their role in many diseases, the relationship between structure and function of translation factors, the regulation of translation at many levels, the role of many tRNA-related proteins or protein networks outside translation and finally, the regulatory role of tRNA itself and its fragments (tRFs), post-transcriptionally. Finally, the tRNA-dependent gene expression regulation in many pathogens, via the T-box riboswitches, bring into the spotlight novel molecular targets for the development of new antibiotics.
Projects of the RNA biology group at the Department of Biochemistry of the School of Medicine at the University of Patras, include:
- The involvement of tRNA biogenesis, aminoacylation and signaling in lung cancer using high-throughput approaches (DNA arrays, NGS, etc.)
- Regulation of multiple pathways by tRNA-dependent riboswitches (T-boxes) in pathogens
- The role of specific mutations that affect RNA involved in translation, to antibiotic resistance
- Structural and biochemical characterization of the role of La protein in tRNA biogenesis and its role in autoimmunity
- Regulation of expression of components of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases complex in human.
- The role of mitochondrial mutations in disease