RNA processing and nuclear export are essential tasks in eukaryotes due to the compartmentalization of the cell, but despite the vital significance of these processes to the gene expression program, many basic fundamental questions remain. These include:
How is RNA processing coupled to mRNA export?
How does an mRNA transit through a nuclear pore complex?
How is mRNA processing and export altered in response to stress, viral infection, or changes in the environment?
How do changes in mRNA processing and export lead to decreased cellular fitness and disease?
The Montpetit Lab is studying these cell biology questions with the goal of describing how gene expression regulation is coupled to cellular function and environment. Ultimately, this will allow us to better understand the interplay between RNA processing, nuclear RNA export, gene expression regulation, and cellular physiology.
Towards this goal, we employ cell biology, biochemistry, genetics, structural biology, and single molecule imaging techniques in our studies using the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and mammalian cell culture models. This occurs in the context of biomedical research questions focused on human disease and virology, as well as the fermentation environment during the production of wine and other fermented products. Together these systems provide a unique and exciting opportunity to make critical insights into the biology of eukaryotic cells, provide knowledge important to human health, and apply these learnings to the production of fermented products.