The Dominguez lab studies how gene expression is controlled by proteins that bind RNA. RNA binding proteins control the way RNAs are transcribed, spliced, polyadenylated, exported, degraded, and translated.
Altered RNA-protein interactions in cancer
RNA processing is massively altered in cancer. These observations can be explained by 1) mutations in RNA binding proteins that alter how they bind their target transcripts, 2) mutations in RNA sequences that are normally bound by specific RNA binding proteins. We use computational approaches and biochemical assays to characterize mechanisms underlying cancer-specific RNA processing defects.
RNA binding by noncanonical domains
Recent evidence indicates that noncanonical domains or even disordered regions also bind RNA. We employ large-scale biochemical approaches to study these interactions in vitro and and in vivo. Given the prevalence of low-complexity domains in the proteome and their association with disease, understanding how these domains interact with RNA will shed new light on normal and aberrant RNA biology.
Cell signaling and RNA processing
Cell signaling pathways are known to modulate gene expression. However, crosstalk/cross-regulation between RNA processing and cell signaling is not well understood. We use systematic screening approaches to dissect the impact of cell signaling pathways on RNA binding protein activity. This project involves the study of post-translational modifications of RNA binding proteins, the use of targeted drug screens and integrative analysis with RNA sequencing datasets.