Cell and Developmental biology


Cytoskeleton Dependent RNA Distribution Mechanisms

Sebastian Maurer
Sebastian Baumann
Bogumiła Jagiełło
Maria Gili, Mireia Garriga


Our laboratory is interested in the molecular mechanisms underlying cytoplasmic RNA transport along cytoskeletal elements, especially microtubules. Many unsolved questions surround cytoplasmic RNA transport, which include: What is the minimal set of components needed to transport a RNA? How do motors select which RNA to transport? How is the amount of transported RNAs regulated?

A wealth of in vivo data is available, providing examples of RNA transport systems and their biological relevance. However, an understanding of how involved factors are steering RNA distribution on the molecular level is often hindered by the complexity of the cell. Complementary to in vivo research in the field, our laboratory employs a bottom-up strategy. Purified RNAs and proteins are used to assemble RNA transport modules having a controlled number of components in vitro. Properties and function of factors building such RNA transport modules are studied by combining in vitro reconstitutions with fast simultaneous multi-colour Total Internal Reflection Microscopy (TIRF-M) and microfluidics.

Research Projects

  • Reconstitution of microtubule based RNA transport
  • Investigation of different modes of RNA – microtubule interactions
  • Single-molecule imaging of RNA-protein interactions
  • Development TIRF-M coupled in vitro translation assay
  • Development of high-throughput protein-protein and protein-RNA interactions screens

Selected Publications

Maurer S P, Fourniol FJ, Hoenger A, Surrey T.
“Seeded microtubule growth for cryoelectron microscopy of end-binding proteins.”
Methods Mol Biol, 1136:247 (2014). (*)

Maurer SP et al.
“EB1 Accelerates Two Conformational Transitions Important for Microtubule Maturation and Dynamics.”
Curr Biol, 24:372 (2014). (*)

(*) External origin