Publication Date


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Academic Program

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program


Program in Molecular Medicine

First Thesis Advisor

Joel Richter, PhD


Polyadenylation, RNA-Binding Proteins, Transcription Factors, mRNA Cleavage and Polyadenylation Factors, Neurons


Dissertations, UMMS; Polyadenylation; RNA-Binding Proteins; Transcription Factors; mRNA Cleavage and Polyadenylation Factors; Neurons


Genome regulation is an extremely complex phenomenon. There are various mechanisms in place to ensure smooth performance of the organism. Post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression is one such mechanism. Many proteins bind to mRNAs and regulate their translation. In this thesis, I have focused on the Cytoplasmic Polyadenylation Element Binding family of proteins (CPEB1-4); a group of sequence specific RNA binding proteins important for cell cycle progression, senescence, neuronal function and plasticity. CPEB protein binds mRNAs containing a short Cytoplasmic Polyadenylation Element (CPE) in 3’ untranslated Region (UTR) and regulates the polyadenylation of these mRNAs and thereby controls translation. In Chapter II, I have presented my work on the regulation of mitochondrial function by CPEB. CPEB knockout mice have brain specific defects in mitochondrial function owing to a reduction in Electron transport chain complex I component protein NDUFV2. CPEB controls the translation of this NDUFV2 mRNA and thus affects mitochondrial function. A consequence of this reduced bioenergetics is reduced growth and branching of neurons, again emphasizing the importance of this pathway. Chapter III focuses on the role of CPEB4 in neuronal survival and protection against apoptosis. CPEB4 shuttles between nucleus and cytoplasm and becomes nuclear in response to stimulation with ionotropic glutamate receptors, focal ischemia in vivo and when cultured neurons are deprived of oxygen and glucose; nuclear CPEB4 affords protection against apoptosis in ischemia model. The underlying cause for nuclear translocation is reduction in Endoplasmic Reticulum calcium levels. These studies give an insight into the function and dynamics of these two RNA binding proteins and provide a better understanding of cellular biology.



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