Gabunilas, Jason (2013 - 2016)

Jason is in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  He joined the training program in 2013.  His research mentor is Dr. Guillaume Chanfreau.  He received a B.S. degree in 2010 from UC San Diego.

Mentor: Dr. Guillaume Chanfreau

Research project:

In all eukaryotes, highly-conserved RNA degradation pathways mediate RNA quality control by eliminating aberrant transcripts. For example, incorrectly-spliced mRNAs containing a premature termination codon (PTC) may give rise to truncated proteins with dominantnegative effects and must therefore be degraded by nonsense-mediated RNA decay (NMD). Such PTCs are associated with an estimated 30% of inherited genetic disorders in humans. Additionally, RNA degradation pathways are also utilized for the general regulation of gene expression. My current work employs classical biochemistry in the model eukaryote S. cerevisiae to understand the relationship between RNA decay pathways and gene expression, especially in association with simultaneous transcriptional, spliceosomal and translational regulation. Furthermore, our recent high throughput studies suggest that NMD may be responsible for regulating the expression of many noncoding RNAs, including cryptic unstable transcripts (CUTs). While CUTs are largely uncharacterized, our data suggests that they may affect the expression of proximal protein-coding genes. Thus, I will be exploring several of these candidate transcripts to investigate this possibility further.