Working on this project:
Project B12 focuses on the elucidation of structural dynamics in RNAs and RNA-protein-complexes using single molecule Förster resonance spectroscopy (smFRET). Within this project, our goal is to characterize conformational dynamics that underlie the function of the RNA-modifying H/ACA RNP complexes. Within the current funding period, we focused on the structural dynamics of the archaeal H/ACA model system, and were able to not only characterize assembly of this complex, but also provided a new model for the conformational plasticity that governs catalytic turnover. Within the next funding period, we will move this project to the much more elaborate eukaryotic H/ACA complexes. Here, our aims are to understand the contribution of eukaryote-specific protein domains during both assembly of the complex and upon recruitment and turnover of RNA substrates. This will provide a deeper functional understanding of these complexes, which has implications in numerous cellular processes, such as ribosome biogenesis and translational regulation. In collaboration with other projects, we also aim to directly obtain structural information on H/ACA RNP complexes, and characterize structural dynamics of a Guanidinium-specific bacterial riboswitch on the single molecule level.