Internal Medicine, University of Rochester
Functional characterization of MRB8180-containing complexes in trypanosome RNA editing
Trypanosoma brucei mitochondria, a novel and essential process in a deadly human parasite. Specifically, I developed a new methodology to investigate the mechanisms of RNA editing termed TREAT (Trypanosome RNA Editing Alignment Tool) that employs a combination of high throughput sequencing and bioinformatics analyses. Through this work, I expanded our understanding of the complex mitochondrial transcriptome, elucidated the functions of essential editing factors whose roles had been largely unknown, and provided a powerful open source tool that is available to the larger parasitology research community. My work provides the first evidence that editing of a given mRNA can proceed through distinct pathways; i.e., the order in which a region is modified is a varied and regulated feature. In addition, my work demonstrated for the first time that non-linear, or seemingly “mis-edited”, modifications are essential to the editing process, generating the commonly observed junction regions that occur at the leading edge of editing.