Regulation of mRNA in animal developmentGene expression is controlled at many levels, including by mRNA regulation. Whether a particular mRNA is translated, repressed, or degraded, depends on its interactions with a variety of RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) and regulatory RNAs, which in turn recruit diverse co-factors. Our interest is in elucidating the molecular mechanisms by which conserved RBPs control mRNA fate. We are also interested in explaining how these mechanisms influence fundamental biological processes, such as maintenance of tissue homeostasis by the self-renewing stem cells, or cell fate determination.
Control of developmental plasticity (pluripotency)During development, pluripotency is unleashed in an early embryo, following the oocyte-to-embryo transition. Diverse mechanisms, including regulated mRNA translation and epigenetic remodeling, are thought to steer this transition. We are interested in dissecting the contributions of these mechanisms to the acquisition of pluripotency, and in understanding how pluripotency is controlled in differentiating cells. A long-term goal is to identify genes and pathways that could restore pluripotency to differentiated cells, with potential implications for regenerative medicine.
Our experimental model, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, is genetically tractable, rapid, and amendable to biochemical analysis. In our research we combine genetic, molecular, and biochemical approaches with genomics.
FMI report pages for Rafal Ciosk