Messenger RNA methylation Modifications in mRNA are known since the heydays of molecular biology, yet their biological functions remain to be discovered fully. Our lab focuses on the characterisation of the molecular machinery introducing methyl marks and their reader proteins, and how they regulate sex determination and neuronal functions.
Alternative splicing: ELAV
RNA binding proteins generally bind short motifs. However such motifs are found ubiquitously in the genome and it is currently not clear how specificity is generated at genomic scales in cells. Our aim is to identify the mechanisms that make ELAV a gene-specific regulator of alternative splicing and polyadenylation to regulate neuronal differentiation and function.
Alternative splicing: DSCAM Down Syndrome Cell Adhesion Molecule generates massive molecular diversity by splicing of a single exon out of a cluster of variable exons. Our aim is to identify the mechanisms that prevent splicing together of variable exons that all have bona fide splice sites and that identify a specific exon for inclusion.
Drosophila post-mating response
Male-derived sex-peptide is the master regulator of female post-mating response most prominently inducing an increase in egg laying and refractoriness to remate. We have shown that sex peptide passes the blood-brain barrier to target neurons to induce the post-mating response via multiple pathways. Now we are characterizing the neuronal circuitry through which sex peptide induces the post-mating response and incorporates multiple sensory modalities.