Molecular & Cellular Biology

Revealing the secrets of nature & educating next generation of science innovators

Genetic Mechanisms

Genetic Mechanisms

Genetic Mechanisms

How do genes work? That question links together the Genetic Mechanisms category, and MCB researchers address it from a number of different angles using a variety of techniques, including genetics. MCB labs conduct research in several related areas: First, genes and genomes must be properly replicated and maintained, and cells have elaborate control mechanisms and DNA repair pathways to respond to damage or other stimuli. Second, genes must be properly expressed, ultimately generating the proteins and other molecules that "do the work" of the cell. This involves a series of gene expression steps, starting with the production of an mRNA (transcription), followed by its processing and localization, and continuing to protein synthesis (translation). Each of these steps is exquisitely regulated to control gene expression as needed. Third, proteins must be maintained in an active state, and degraded when appropriate, as aberrant protein levels and/or function can be extremely detrimental to the cell.

Despite decades of research in these areas, we have only begun to scratch the surface of the beautiful and complex mechanisms that control our genes. Furthermore, although this is research into the fundamentals of biology, much of this work relates to human disease including, among others, cancer and neurodegenerative disease.

Associated Faculty

Regulation of mRNP dynamics in gene expression: Eukaryotic gene expression is a fundamental cellular activity that is critical for cellular identity, function, and physiology. During gene expression, a messenger RNA (mRNA) is generated by transcription and undergoes a number of different steps, including... Read More
The control of gene expression is critical to nearly all aspects of cellular biology, from maintaining basic cell function and identity, to the ability of cells to respond to numerous signals that arise during processes such as development, exposure to pathogens or changes in the cellular environment.... Read More
The general focus in this lab is on understanding the coordination of organelle/host cell interactions. Two different systems under study are: -nuclear control of mitochondrial mRNA expression in yeast mitochondria, and, -eyespot assembly in Chlamydomonas.-Mitochondrial tRNA processing is inhibited in yeast... Read More
The Kacar Lab investigates key questions regarding molecular mechanisms of evolution, the origins of life and the distribution of life throughout our universe. We are interested in understanding life’s working strategies at the molecular level and how the ancestral behaviors of proteins and... Read More
Genome Instability in Yeast: Getting at the Mechanisms of Genetic Change In my 20 years here at the University of Arizona, I now find myself in a fascinating as well as mysterious field of study, that of genome instability. Chromosomes, the source of information that dictates a cells behavior, are complex... Read More
1. Translational control in glia-neural stem cell interactions We have recently discovered a novel role for the RNA binding protein, FMRP, in neural stem cells exit from quiescence, a universal mechanism utilized by stem and progenitor cells across phyla. Furthermore, using tissue specific RNAi we found... Read More