The long-term goal of our research is to understand the functional organization of the animal cell nucleus. Specifically, we concentrate on two molecular processes that take place in the nucleus: the synthesis of RNA by the chromosomes (transcription) and the processing of this RNA into the mature messenger RNA (splicing). We study oocytes of Xenopus and other amphibians because of their exceptional size (~ 1 mm diameter) and the ease with which their giant nucleus (~ 0.4 mm diameter) can be isolated for molecular and structural analysis. We recently discovered that Xenopus oocytes store stable RNA sequences derived from the introns of most transcribed genes. This is an unexpected finding, because intronic sequences are generally destroyed within minutes after being spliced out of new transcripts. This stable intronic sequence (sis) RNA is transmitted to the embryo at fertilization and persists during early development until at least the blastula stage. For this reason we hypothesize the sisRNA may play a regulatory role during gene expression in the oocyte or early embryo. We will extend our studies to include the fly Drosophila, where we can apply sophisticated genetic techniques to better understand the function of sisRNA. We will also continue our studies on the giant "lampbrush" chromosomes found in oocytes of frogs and salamanders. These chromosomes are so large that one can visualize transcription and splicing on specific genes by conventional light microscopy. We recently developed techniques for imaging transcription units on these chromosomes by superresolution microscopy. We can now examine transcription units with resolution in the range of 50-100 nm, approximately 2-4 X better than achievable by confocal microscopy. We will use immunofluorescent staining and fluorescent in situ hybridization to examine details of RNA transcription and processing at the molecular level. These studies could reveal aspects of RNA transcription and processing that are missed by conventional in vitro molecular studies.

Public Health Relevance

Our studies focus on transcription and splicing, two of the most basic aspects of molecular and cell biology. Transcription is the process by which the information in the DNA of a gene is converted into an RNA molecule. Part of this RNA molecule is discarded (spliced out) before the RNA is exported from the nucleus to the cytoplasm of the cell. Nearly all disease states, even those caused by bacteria and viruses, involve alterations in transcription and splicing of specific genes. Thus, understanding the processes of transcription and splicing is crucial in developing rational therapy for a wide variety of diseases, including genetic and metabolic diseases as well as cancer.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
2R01GM033397-29
Application #
8577436
Study Section
Nuclear and Cytoplasmic Structure/Function and Dynamics Study Section (NCSD)
Program Officer
Bender, Michael T
Project Start
1983-09-01
Project End
2017-06-30
Budget Start
2013-07-02
Budget End
2014-06-30
Support Year
29
Fiscal Year
2013
Total Cost
$440,650
Indirect Cost
$190,650
Name
Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C.
Department
Type
DUNS #
072641707
City
Washington
State
DC
Country
United States
Zip Code
20005
Talhouarne, Gaƫlle J S; Gall, Joseph G (2014) Lariat intronic RNAs in the cytoplasm of Xenopus tropicalis oocytes. RNA 20:1476-87
Deryusheva, Svetlana; Gall, Joseph G (2013) Novel small Cajal-body-specific RNAs identified in Drosophila: probing guide RNA function. RNA 19:1802-14
Endow, Sharyn A; Nizami, Zehra F; Gerbi, Susan A (2013) A remarkable career in science-Joseph G. Gall. Chromosome Res 21:339-43
Deryusheva, Svetlana; Choleza, Maria; Barbarossa, Adrien et al. (2012) Post-transcriptional modification of spliceosomal RNAs is normal in SMN-deficient cells. RNA 18:31-6
Singer, Alison B; Gall, Joseph G (2011) An inducible nuclear body in the Drosophila germinal vesicle. Nucleus 2:403-9
Nizami, Zehra; Deryusheva, Svetlana; Gall, Joseph G (2010) The Cajal body and histone locus body. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol 2:a000653
Gall, Joseph G; Wu, Zheng'an (2010) Examining the contents of isolated Xenopus germinal vesicles. Methods 51:45-51
Gall, Joseph G (2009) Chromosome odds and ends. Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol 25:1-19
Deryusheva, Svetlana; Gall, Joseph G (2009) Small Cajal body-specific RNAs of Drosophila function in the absence of Cajal bodies. Mol Biol Cell 20:5250-9
Liu, Ji-Long; Wu, Zheng'an; Nizami, Zehra et al. (2009) Coilin is essential for Cajal body organization in Drosophila melanogaster. Mol Biol Cell 20:1661-70

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