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Structural Biophysics Laboratory (SBL)
Protein-Nucleic Acid Interaction Section
Dr. Yun-Xing Wang, Head, PNAI Section

Yun-Xing Wang, Ph.D.

Head, PNAI Section

Building 538, Room 133
Frederick National Lab
Frederick, MD 27102-1201

Phone: 301-846-5985

Fax: 301-846-6231

E-Mail: wangyunx@mail.nih.gov

Introduction

The long term research interests of my group are to understand the fundamental interactions regulating essential events involving RNA in the translational and post-translational processes on both the structural and cellular levels using NMR spectroscopy and various other biophysical, biochemical, and biological methods.

Currently, the lab focuses on the key structural element(s) in 3' and 5' prime UTR RNAs that are important for gene regulation. One example is the 3' UTR of the VEGF mRNA. A 3' UTR RNA fragment in the VEGF mRNA regulates its own gene expression by interacting with EPRS and hnRNAP-L. VEGF is the most dominant protein factor in angiogensis and plays a very important role in many types of tumors, including breast cancer. My lab is studying the structural basis of an adenine riboswitch, which regulates the gene expression in response to the level of adenine as a metabolite. This riboswitch is located in the 5' end of bacterial mRNA. The structural knowledge of the switching may be important to understand the fundamental mechanism of regulation of gene expression by RNA regulators.

Because of the difficulties encountered in using existing methods to determine the structures of large RNAs, we are also engaged in developing new methods to achieve our research objectives. One such method is combined use of small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) with NMR for structure determination of large RNAs, protein complexes and large molecular assemblies in solution. This lab has been at forefront of promoting the use of SAXS as a complementary tool to NMR for structural biology research. Furthermore, we are also developing new methods for determining high-resolution structures of large RNA in solution and research to achieve this goal is well underway.


Experimental Approach

  1. Solution NMR spectroscopy
  2. Solution neutron and X-ray scattering
  3. Other biophysical methods

Current Research Projects

  1. How the HIV-1 knows to pick up its own genome, not it's host's, to export for packaging
  2. Use of a combined approach to determine three-dimensional structures of large RNAs in solution state

Accomplished Research Projects

  1. The 3P program
  2. The dynamics and structure of ribosome protein L11
  3. Structural biology study of the receptor associated protein, RAP
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