Jeffrey Wilusz, Ph.D.


Jeffrey Wilusz, Ph.D.
Jeffrey Wilusz
Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology
Colorado State University
B321 Microbiology
City, State, ZIP
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1619
(970) 491-0652
[email protected]
Research field
Award year


Messenger RNA decay is an often over-looked but highly regulated aspect of gene expression that is integral in determining mRNA levels. Recent studies suggest that as much as 50% of the changes in gene expression that occur in response to certain stimuli are at the level of mRNA stability. We have developed and patented an in vitro assay that allows us to recapitulate the various steps of mRNA decay in S100 extracts from multiple cell types including HeLa, Jurkat, and even trypanosomes (Ford et al, 1999) and more recently a mosquito cell line (Opyrchal et al 2005). In addition, we have initiated collaborations with the arboviral research groups here at CSU in order to study how viruses are able to evade the host cell mRNA degradation machinery to persist and replicate in the cytoplasm. Lastly, the poly(A) tail is both a determinant of mRNA stability and a translation enhancer. These effects are mediated through interaction of poly(A) with the poly(A) binding protein. Although, the machinery and signals for optimal polyadenylation are quite well-characterized, a large number of mRNAs do not contain canonical poly(A) signals. In collaboration with Dr. Carol Lutz and Dr. Bin Tian at New Jersey Medical School, my lab members are currently trying to decipher how these non-canonical signals work.

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