University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
Enhancers are regulatory DNA sequences that control when and in what tissue genes are turned on and off. Only a small amount of the genome contains genes, but much of the genome is transcribed into RNA; thus many RNAs do not code for proteins. I will focus on enhancer RNAs (eRNAs) which are important for turning genes on and off, but it is unclear how they do this.
I will investigate the way eRNAs work. I will look at how they fold up to form different shapes and how this changes the activity of the proteins that turn genes on and off. I will do this in vitro and in cells, looking across the genome. I will also look at the atomic details of how folded eRNAs interact with regulatory proteins.
My research will uncover mechanisms that describe how eRNAs work.