Peter Daniels

Characterisation of the Rex1 ribonuclease in yeast and human cells

About me

I became fascinated with gene expression during my Biochemistry and Genetics degree at Sheffield, and the two lab undergraduate research projects I took part in have helped me foster a passion for research. My first project was in the Hu lab, which focused on the mechanics of cohesin complex loading onto chromosomes in yeast. My next lab project was in the El-Khamisy lab, which used human cell models to investigate the transcription-coupled DNA damage response. My PhD project represents an ideal chance for me to practice the translation of experimental findings in yeast into a human cell culture context, and the wide range of genetic and structural techniques I plan to use should equip me well for a career in research.

My project

In order to maintain the genome’s RNA transcription products in a functional state, exoribonucleases are required for the maturation of precursor transcripts and for degradation of misprocessed products. The Rex family of exoribonucleases are central to these processes in yeast, with target substrates including rRNAs, snoRNAs, and tRNAs. The yeast Rex proteins are poorly understood on a mechanical and structural level, with almost nothing understood about the RNA processing roles of their human orthologues. I aim to address these knowledge gaps using techniques including in vitro binding and degradation assays, X-ray crystallography, and cryoEM, with RNAi and genetic depletion experiments planned in human cell lines for functional homologues. Investigating these mediators of RNA metabolism in yeast and humans should allow a deeper understanding of gene expression at a fundamental level.


Twitter: @PwDaniels1