Dr. Athar Ansari wins funding from National Institute of Health to study coordination of the transcription cycle
A new paradigm of transcriptional regulation explores the role of Transcription Factor II B at many steps of gene expression
The Ansari lab has won a five-year, $1,050,000 award to explore the newly discovered roles of TFIIB in the integration of the steps of mRNA production and processing.
This project was inspired by his group’s discovery that TFIIB is localized to both the 5’ and 3’ ends of a gene during transcription and forms a complex with termination factors. Interestingly, TFIIB is a target of a number of human viruses, including coronaviruses. The multiple roles of TFIIB in the transcription cycle may be what makes this protein a target for viruses that seek to hijack gene expression in the host cell. This suggests that findings from the Ansari lab might lead to novel treatments for viral diseases.
The genome serves as an instruction manual, containing information that is copied into messenger RNA (mRNA) and translated into proteins. Much of the research in genetics, cell and molecular biology seeks to understand how the flow of information from the genome is regulated.
The Ansari laboratory has discovered that many of the steps in mRNA production, processing and transport are functionally integrated. In fact, the general Transcription Factor IIB (TFIIB) plays a crucial role in integrating multiple steps of transcription. In addition to playing a central role in transcriptional initiation, TFIIB is involved in post-transcriptional RNA processing, message termination and nuclear export.