Probing the Kinetics of tRNA Recognition by T-box Riboswitch at the Single-molecule Level

Type of Award: Catalyst
Date Awarded: March 2017
Award End Date: February 2019
Amount Awarded: $ 250,000.00
PI(s): Jingyi Fei, UChicago; Alfonso Mondragon, NU;

Abstract: RNA molecules play many roles in the cell, including as regulatory elements to control gene expression at both transcriptional and translational levels. In bacteria, some RNA elements, termed T-box riboswitches, directly affect protein production by responding to the level and aminoacylation state of tRNA molecules. The regulation involves recognition and binding of one RNA molecule by another RNA molecule concomitant with conformational changes in the RNA molecules. We propose to study the kinetic mechanism of this regulation using single-molecule fluorescence techniques. By monitoring individual riboswitch molecules as they interact with tRNAs, we aim to discern the series of functional steps that lead to regulation. The approach we propose is novel and challenging and promises to provide information that cannot be obtain in other manner and help obtain a more complete vista on the way these important molecules work.