Our research

Cellular function requires that activities are harnessed and controlled, often within large molecular machines. Amongst these, a number of key complexes comprise non-coding RNA and protein. These ribonucleoproteins (“RNPs”) play key roles in many essential cellular processes, including maintenance of telomeres, dosage compensation, transcription, pre-mRNA splicing, translation and protein targeting. The RNA components of RNPs while having key structural roles in the complexes, are also typically  involved in substrate recognition and/or catalysis. In eukaryotic cells these RNAs may be generated by any one of the three RNA polymerases (I, II or III). Much of the current work in the laboratory is focussed on the function of the ribosome, and particularly how certain RNA and nascent peptide sequences can prompt the ribosome into outcomes not predicted from the simple sequence of the mRNA or peptide. Such events, collectively termed translational recoding, include stop-codon read through, frame-shifting and insertion of selenocysteine. In addition to this, we are also interested in the biogenesis of RNPs, and particularly the signal recognition particle.