Elisabetta Ullu PhD

Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases) and of Cell Biology

Research Interests

Eukaryotic cells

Research Summary

The majority of eukaryotic cells have the ability to silence genes using as regulators or triggers small non-coding RNAs. Our laboratory focuses on the mechanism and biological significance of RNA interference or RNAi, whereby dsRNA triggers degradation of the corresponding target mRNA. Several years ago we discovered RNAi in the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma brucei, which represents one of the deepest branches of the eukaryotic lineage, and thus may give us clues to the origin and evolution of RNAi. Using a combination of reverse genetics, cell biology, and biochemistry, we are studying the mechanism and regulation of RNAi with the goals of defining the minimal set of components, unraveling the biological significance of the pathway, and how the RNAi pathaway intersects with mRNA translation.

Selected Publications

  • Shi H, Tschudi C, Ullu E. (2007). Depletion of newly synthesized Argonaute1 impairs the RNAi response in Trypanosoma brucei. RNA 13, 1132-9.
  • Shi, H., Tschudi, C., and Ullu, E. (2006). An unusual Dicer-like1 protein fuels the RNA interference pathway in Trypanosoma brucei. RNA 12:2063-72.
  • Shi, H., Ullu, E. and Tschudi, C. (2004). Function of the trypanosome Argonaute 1 protein in RNA interference requires the N-terminal RGG domain and arginine 735 in the Piwi domain. J. Biol. Chem., 279, 49889-93.
  • Ruan, J., Arhin, G.K., Ullu, E. and Tschudi, C. (2004). Functional characterization of a Trypanosoma brucei TATA-binding protein-like factor points to a universal regulator of transcription in trypanosomes. Mol. Cell. Biol., 24, 9610-9618.
  • Arhin,G.K., Shen, S., Irmer, H., Ullu, E. and Tschudi, C. (2004). Role for a 300 kDa nuclear complex in the maturation of Trypanosoma brucei initiator methionyl-tRNA. Eukaryotic Cell, 3, 893-899.

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