Biogenesis and Action of small RNAs

Our group is studying the biogenesis of small RNAs (sRNAs) and their impact on the regulation of gene expression. sRNAs function as riboregulators of diverse cellular processes in eukaryotes as they target a multitude of different RNA substrates, ranging from transposons, aberrant transcripts, non-coding RNAs produced from repetitive loci up to bona fide mRNAs. RNAi mechanisms that target RNAs from repetitive sequences serve to maintain genome integrity, whereas mechanisms that target mRNAs allow the regulation of gene expression during development or in adaptation to the environment. To unravel the molecular mechanisms how sRNAs are produced, amplified and how they elicit their function we apply a multidisciplinary structural biology approach, combining X-ray crystallography and Electron microscopy with quantitative biochemistry.

We are part of the Center for Molecular Biology of the University of Vienna and are located at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories (MFPL) at the Vienna Biocenter Campus. Within the Department of Structural and Computational Biology several groups employ various different structural (X-ray, EM, NMR, and SAXS) and computational approaches to study a variety of biological problems. We also have access to state-of-the-art Vienna Biocenter Core Facilites with Electron microscopy, Protein Technologies and Proteomics being the most important ones for our work.