RNA Biochemistry / Structural Biology

​Robart  lab

Intron Splicing

RNA machines play a pivotal role within cells yet little is known about their structures. We seek to gain a structure/function understanding of these machines at atomic detail to provide insights into human diseases.

Non-coding RNAs play diverse cellular roles acting as messengers, regulators, structural scaffolds, and catalytic ribozymes. We use a combination of biochemistry and structural biology to understand the architecture and catalytic mechanisms of RNA molecular machines, exploring the complexity of RNA structure and the proteins that coordinate to them. The lab's main focused on understanding the structure and biochemical function of the RNA splicing apparatus.

The spliceosome and self-splicing group II intron ribozymes share a conserved RNA core that catalyzes the RNA splicing reaction. It is estimated that at least 15% of human diseases arise from defects in splicing. A detailed understanding of the complexity within the splicing machinery is of paramount importance for developing treatments to these diseases. We aim to capture atomic resolution “snap shots” of each step along the splicing reaction, and biochemically probe the molecular interactions that drive their function.