Alteration of host transfer RNA expression by gammaherpesviruses
Gene expression pathways are rewired in response to viral infection, either by viral action or the immune response. Dissecting how viruses alter gene expression at a molecular level has led to the discovery of fundamental genetic concepts, including transcription factors and splicing. The Tucker lab studies how the oncogenic Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus alters the expression of transfer RNAs, or tRNAs—a group of small RNAs with the huge job of decoding RNA into protein. We are interested in learning more about how transfer RNAs are regulated in mammalian cells, a field that is understudied in part due to the complex nature of these small RNAs. We are working to define the host and viral factors involved in tRNA dysregulation and canonical tRNA expression, as well as discovering non-canonical functions of tRNAs and their cleavage products. Ultimately, we hope to shed light on how mammalian cells balance tRNA pools, providing insight to other contexts known to involve tRNA dysregulation, such as cancer and neurodegenerative disease.
- Gene expression and regulation
- Host-pathogen interactions