ChemBio e-seminar by Prof. Kristin Koutmou (Uni Michigan) - CH-635


Event details

Date 23.05.2023
Hour 16:1517:15
Speaker Prof. Kristin Koutmou
Location Online
Category Conferences - Seminars
Event Language English
Title: Consequences of reshaping the RNA modification landscape under stress

Cells face the daunting challenge of synthesizing the correct number of proteins at the right time with high fidelity. Messenger RNAs (mRNAs) serve as the blueprints for protein synthesis by the ribosome, and the post-transcriptional modification of mRNA presents one avenue for cells to regulate protein production. The recent discovery of mRNA chemical modifications has generated tremendous excitement because these modifications have the potential to regulate mRNA function and control protein expression levels. Pioneering work on mRNA modifications have implemented sequencing-based methods to map the location of individual chemical modifications across all of the RNA molecules in a cell. Despite a rapidly growing recognition of their importance, fundamental questions regarding the identity, prevalence and functional consequences of mRNA modifications remain to be answered. We are working to fill these critical knowledge gaps and establish a quantitative and mechanistic basis for understanding how mRNA chemical modifications impact protein synthesis at the molecular level. The work presented here demonstrates the consequences of modifying individual uridine nucleobase positions on the speed and accuracy of the ribosome, and presents evidence suggesting a new framework for conceptualizing how key uridine modifying enzymes (pseudouridine synthases) select their mRNA targets.

Speaker's biography:
Dr. Kristin Koutmou is the Seyhan N. Ege Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Michigan. She began her scientific career at the University of Colorado at Denver where she obtained her B.S. in Chemistry. Dr. Koutmou then moved to the Department of Chemistry at the University of Michigan for her doctoral work. During her time at Michigan she trained in mechanistic enzymology with Professor Carol Fierke, studying how bacterial ribonuclease P binds and matures precursor tRNAs. Following her PhD studies, Dr. Koutmou joined the laboratory of Professor Rachel Green at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine as a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. In the Green lab, Dr. Koutmou used a reconstituted in vitro translation system to investigate translation elongation and termination. In 2016, Dr. Koutmou returned to the University of Michigan to begin her independent career. Her laboratory is in the Department of Chemistry, and she also holds an affiliation with the Department of Biological Chemistry. Recently, Dr. Koutmou also became the Assistant Director of the graduate Program in Chemical Biology. Dr. Koutmou’s lab studies the post-transcriptional control of gene regulation by the ribosome. Much of the Koutmou lab’s work focuses on understanding the molecular level consequences of mRNA modification on protein synthesis.

Lab website:

Practical information

  • Informed public
  • Free