Dynamic regulation of mRNA processing in adapting fungi

Year of award: 2017


  • Dr Edward Wallace

    University of Edinburgh

Project summary

How do fungi survive in a changing environment when they cannot move away from danger or towards food? And how do infectious fungi begin to grow in a human body? Fungi have a toolbox of RNA and protein and when they are under stress they get out some tools and put others away. For example, when fungi are hot, they shut down heat-sensitive processes and concentrate on making proteins that protect them against heat. 

I will explore how cells move RNAs when they are dangerously hot, by measuring movement of a large collection of synthetic RNAs. I will also investigate the function of the Ssd1 protein that is essential for fungi to survive stress. I will measure the exact locations on RNAs that contact Ssd1, and how that affects cell survival. I will also find out what the first changes to RNA and protein are as Cryptococcus neoformans infection begins in a lung.     

My findings will improve our understanding of how fungal infections develop.