Jim Uniacke

Email Address
[email protected]
Research Areas
Research Keywords
Research Description

Our research investigates how proteins are made, and what they do, in hypoxic cells. Hypoxia in tumors (low oxygen availability) has been linked to poor prognosis in cancer patients. Therefore, examining fundamental gene expression mechanisms for cellular adaptation to hypoxia may lead to a greater understanding of cancer biology.

Research Summary

Protein synthesis involves the translation of ribonucleic acid information into proteins, the building blocks of life. The initial step of protein synthesis consists of the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) binding to the 5' cap of mRNAs. However, many cellular stresses repress cap-dependent translation to conserve energy by sequestering eIF4E. This raises a fundamental question in biology as to how proteins are synthesized during periods of cellular stress and eIF4E inhibition. Research in our laboratory will build upon the discovery that cells switch to an alternative cap-binding protein, eIF4E2, to synthesize the bulk of their proteins during periods of oxygen scarcity (hypoxia).

Techniques Used

Wester blotting, PCR, polysome profiling, human cell culture, DNA electrophoresis, cellular fractionation, immunoprecipitation, fluorescence microscopy, mass spectrometry.

Lab Equipment

Hypoxia workstation, cell culture, western blotting, DNA electrophoresis, polysome fractionator, nanodrop, real-time PCR.

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