Molecular Microbiology & Immunology, Neurology
Keck School of Medicine
DNA & RNA
Our laboratory is interested in post-transcriptional regulation. We are currently examining the biological significance of protein arginine methylation of translation initiation factors. We are currently studying the effect of Arg362 methylation of factor eIF4A. The latter is the prototype of DEXD/H box nucleotide dependent helicases. We have found that methylation of Arg362 results in: 1) significantly reduced ATPase activity and 2) inhibition of eIF4A assembly with eIF4G into the eIF4F heterotrimer. We believe this example of covalent modification is representative of a previously unknown regulatory circuit for modulating cellular protein synthesis. Our current efforts are directed towards identifying regulators of protein methylation and further examination of eIF4A with respect to mRNA specific effects in protein synthesis.