Storici awarded NSF grant for studying RNA-driven DNA modifications
Atlanta (September 24, 2010) — Assistant Professor Francesca Storici (Biology) has been awarded a research grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a 3 year project focusing on “Mechanisms of RNA/DNA hybrid stability and of information flow from RNA to DNA in yeast cells". The goal of this research is to understand the mechanisms by which RNA can directly transfer information to the DNA of cells. The main objectives are: 1) to identify the main protein factors cleaving the RNA tract in an RNA/DNA hybrid during RNA-driven DNA repair and DNA modification and to characterize their in vivo functions, and 2) to reveal the role of DNA repair mechanisms in the removal of RNA embedded into DNA. This project addresses challenging questions in molecular biology: How likely is information flow from RNA to DNA in cells? How well is RNA tolerated in DNA? What are the consequences of RNA-driven modifications in cells? The study will be done using newly developed systems in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which will be exploited to perform molecular and cellular biology experiments to identify and characterize the molecular mechanisms of RNA-driven DNA repair and editing.