Our research focuses on the formation of ribosomal subunits in eukaryotic organisms. This essential process is initiated in the nucleus but crucial steps take place in the cytoplasm. We are especially interested in those steps which occur shortly after export of the pre-ribosomal particles through the nuclear pore complex. Flawless execution of these reactions is essential for recycling of maturation factors and downstream maturation and is therefore a pre-requisite for the formation of functional ribosomal subunits. Many key steps in ribosome biogenesis are energy dependent and driven by GTPases or ATPases. The functional characterization of these enzymes is our main research focus. We use the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model organism and apply state of the art genetic, biochemical and cell biological methods.
We are interested in the synthesis of ribosomes, which is one of the major and most energy consuming activities of eukaryotic cells. Ribosome biogenesis is highly conserved among eukaryotes and is best studied in yeast.
The rapid rates of ribosome biogenesis necessitate that ribosomal proteins are synthesized in high amounts and are efficiently targeted to ribosomal subunits. In one project, we are studying auxiliary factors that function in stabilization, transport and ribosome assembly of ribosomal proteins.
The correct assembly of ribosomal proteins with ribosomal RNA into mature ribosomes involves a complex series of maturation events including several RNA processing steps and massive structural re-arrangements. A second project deals with the question how rRNA processing and structural re-arrangements are coordinated.
Ribosome biogenesis is tightly linked to growth, proliferation and stress response. In a third project, we are investigating connections between ribosome biogenesis and other cellular processes.
To study these aspects of ribosome biogenesis, we are using yeast as a model organism and apply a broad spectrum of molecular biological, biochemical and cell biological methods.