Investigating Protein Translation

Dr. Christopher Fraser and the members of his lab in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of California, Davis, want to better understand the fundamental cellular process of protein synthesis. The genomic DNA in each cell of an organism encodes the same set of genes, but gene expression is regulated so that only certain proteins are produced at appropriate times in each cell, resulting in diverse cellular functions. The control of the first step of protein synthesis is the regulation of DNA transcription into mRNA. The next step, the translation of mRNA into protein by the ribosome, is also tightly controlled in normal cells, and dysfunctional regulation is responsible for disorders such as autism, Type I diabetes, and cancer.

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