The Ware lab studies components of one of the most abundant and complex machines in all cells – the ribosome.
This complex of several ribosomal RNAs and multiple ribosomal proteins is the macromolecular “stage” on which all proteins are synthesized in cells in a process called translation. As an essential complex in all cells, the ribosome varies in composition and structure between different organisms, prompting questions of how those structural differences may affect translation or the regulation of translation in different types of cells.
Using biochemical, cellular, genetic, and molecular approaches, the Ware lab is studying differences in ribosome composition and biogenesis at the RNA and protein levels in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. We are interested in a species-specific ribosomal RNA processing event called “gap processing”, its unexplored role in the ribosomal cycle, and the biochemical machinery (including the role of ribosomal protein RpL23a) that regulates processing.
Additionally, we are studying the function of the RpL22e ribosomal protein family where duplicate genes (called paralogues) are present. With two genetic loci encoding the same essential protein, differences in protein structure and function may have evolved over time, allowing for the development of new or refined functions for ribosomal protein paralogues.
We are studying the expression of RpL22e paralogues in different tissues (particularly in the fly testis and brain) to determine if protein functions are redundant or if novel ribosomal protein functions have evolved over time.
Instructional Video: Sucrose Gradient Fractionation