Overview

Principal Investigator

Markus Hafner, Ph.D.

Dr. Hafner leads a team of scientists studying the impact of RNA binding proteins (RBPs) on posttranscriptional gene regulation (PTGR). His research focuses on ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) involved in RNA processing, transport, stability, and translation.

The RNA Molecular Biology Group (RMBG) studies the impact of RNA binding proteins (RBPs) on posttranscriptional gene regulation (PTGR). PTGR summarizes various processes acting upon coding and non-coding RNA and includes RNA maturation, ribonucleoprotein (RNP) assembly, transport, translation, and turnover (Figure 1).

The recent introduction of large-scale quantitative methods, such as next-generation sequencing (NGS) and modern mass spectrometry (MS), allows for the first-time determination of the functional impact of RBPs on a systems-wide level and has sparked a renewed interest in the systematic characterization of PTGR processes.

Members of the RMBG focus on elucidating the function and molecular mechanisms of RNA binding proteins involved in RNA transport, RNA stability and turnover, and RNA translation. Broadly, we are pursuing four interdependent projects:

  • Investigate the role of predicted AU-rich element binding proteins in determining mRNA turnover.
  • Identify and characterize the interaction network of mRNA binding transport and shuttling proteins and their RNA targets at a sequence and functional level.
  • Investigate the impact of select RBPs on translation initiation and elongation.
  • Integrate the results from our systems-level determination of cis-acting elements into high-resolution maps of posttranscriptional regulatory events.
A rough categorization of interconnected posttranscriptional gene regulatory processes based on cellular compartmentalization.
Figure 1

Scientific Publications

Latest News

Research Brief | May 10, 2017

Germ Cell Formation in Mice Relies on RNA Clearance Mechanism

All of our cells, be they skin, muscle or bone, contain the same genetic material. Yet these cells appear different and have unique functions. Decades of research have revealed that the distinctions arise during development as a result of differential gene expression. Now, new work has revealed clues about how this process occurs.
Letter from the Director | February 25, 2016

Building Bridges to Enhance Patient Care: The NIAMS Intramural Research Program

The NIAMS Intramural Research Program (IRP), and the entire intramural program at NIH, offer unique resources in the biomedical research enterprise. The long-term, high-risk, high-reward focus of the IRP allows researchers to stretch the boundaries of innovation. They are able to build bridges across the traditional silos that tend to separate organizations, patients and scientists, and research results and clinical practice. These collaborations make an enormous difference for all Americans.
Spotlight on Research | September 15, 2015

NIAMS Interns Share Their 2015 Summer Experiences

Our 2015 summer interns received career mentoring from NIAMS researchers, attended lectures and symposia, engaged in basic and clinical research, and gained notable experience that will help them pursue their career goals. It is our pleasure to share with you their summer experiences.
Last Updated: August 2020