The long-term goal of this research project is to understand the basic principles that govern mRNA degradation, a process that plays a key role in controlling gene expression in all organisms. The immediate goal is to elucidate the mechanism of action of diadenosine tetraphosphate, a stress-induced alarmone that has been implicated in a variety of cellular phenotypes important for bacterial pathogenesis, including invasiveness, biofilm formation, motility, replication, and antibiotic tolerance. Our recent discovery that mRNA degradation is impeded in Escherichia coli cells whose Ap4A concentration is elevated as a result of the absence of the major Ap4A hydrolase ApaH suggests a possible basis for these cellular properties. The objective of this research proposal is to determine the mechanism by which Ap4A and ApaH influence mRNA decay and the breadth of their impact. Achieving this objective will require the use of a variety of molecular biological, biochemical, and genetic methods. The knowledge gained from these studies will provide fundamental insights into a novel aspect of gene regulation that appears to be important for bacterial pathogenesis.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed research will address a novel aspect of how bacteria respond to stress and the mechanism by which it impacts the lifetime of messenger RNA. The knowledge thereby acquired is expected to be of value in understanding the regulatory processes that govern bacterial pathogenesis and antibiotic tolerance. The methods and concepts developed in the course of these studies may also be useful for elucidating how messenger RNA degradation helps to ensure proper levels of gene expression in healthy human cells.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Prokaryotic Cell and Molecular Biology Study Section (PCMB)
Program Officer
Bender, Michael T
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
New York University
Schools of Medicine
New York
United States
Zip Code
Luciano, Daniel J; Belasco, Joel G (2018) Analysis of RNA 5' ends: Phosphate enumeration and cap characterization. Methods :
Gao, Ang; Vasilyev, Nikita; Luciano, Daniel J et al. (2018) Structural and kinetic insights into stimulation of RppH-dependent RNA degradation by the metabolic enzyme DapF. Nucleic Acids Res 46:6841-6856
Luciano, Daniel J; Vasilyev, Nikita; Richards, Jamie et al. (2018) Importance of a diphosphorylated intermediate for RppH-dependent RNA degradation. RNA Biol 15:703-706
Belasco, Joel G (2017) Death by translation: ribosome-assisted degradation of mRNA by endonuclease toxins. FEBS Lett 591:1851-1852
Bischler, Thorsten; Hsieh, Ping-Kun; Resch, Marcus et al. (2017) Identification of the RNA Pyrophosphohydrolase RppH of Helicobacter pylori and Global Analysis of Its RNA Targets. J Biol Chem 292:1934-1950
Lodato, Patricia B; Thuraisamy, Thujitha; Richards, Jamie et al. (2017) Effect of RNase E deficiency on translocon protein synthesis in an RNase E-inducible strain of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7. FEMS Microbiol Lett 364:
Luciano, Daniel J; Vasilyev, Nikita; Richards, Jamie et al. (2017) A Novel RNA Phosphorylation State Enables 5' End-Dependent Degradation in Escherichia coli. Mol Cell 67:44-54.e6
Richards, Jamie; Belasco, Joel G (2016) Distinct Requirements for 5'-Monophosphate-assisted RNA Cleavage by Escherichia coli RNase E and RNase G. J Biol Chem 291:5038-48
Luciano, Daniel J; Belasco, Joel G (2015) NAD in RNA: unconventional headgear. Trends Biochem Sci 40:245-7
Foley, Patricia L; Hsieh, Ping-kun; Luciano, Daniel J et al. (2015) Specificity and evolutionary conservation of the Escherichia coli RNA pyrophosphohydrolase RppH. J Biol Chem 290:9478-86

Showing the most recent 10 out of 49 publications