Global dynamics of mRNA accumulation and translation in embryonic development


  • Prof Hilary Ashe

    University of Manchester

  • Prof Magnus Rattray

    University of Manchester

Project summary

Cells change their gene expression programme to make new, distinct sets of proteins that turn the cells into particular types such as skin or blood cells. There are multiple steps in the gene expression pathway, including transcription, mRNA processing, export, degradation and translation.

We aim to understand how the efficiency of each of these steps is controlled and coordinated to generate the required amount of each protein, so that cells can become the correct cell type. We will generate large data sets and develop computational tools to extract information about all the steps in the gene expression process. To confirm our findings we will use advanced imaging methods to visualise the different steps in the gene expression process in real time in living cells. We will then change the efficiencies of particular steps to determine how this affects the ability of a cell to become the correct cell type.

Results from this study will provide new insight into how each gene expression step is regulated and will be relevant to many other cell types, including stem cells where the ability to manipulate their fate is critical to their therapeutic use.