The major goal of Collaborative Research Centre 902 (CRC, Sonderforschungs- bereich 902) is to unravel the relationship between the structural versatility and conformational dynamics of RNA and its biological functions on a fundamental level. Such investigations will allow us to understand RNA-based regulatory processes in biological systems and to design new RNA modules that can exert novel functions, ultimately also in cells. The CRC is devoted to the analysis of the dynamics and function of RNA-ligand complexes ranging from smaller synthetic or natural riboswitches to large ribonucleoproteins including the ribosome, the RNA-silencing machinery and the editosome.
Part A is devoted to the development and optimization of new methods for the investigation of RNA properties and function. These novel tools will be applied to understand the role of specific structural elements and conformational dynamics to induce regulatory functions of RNA, from model systems to riboswitch RNA. The developed tools will also be applied to systems defined in Part B, encompassing important RNA-protein complexes (RNP).
Part B investigates the multiple roles of RNA as regulatory constituent in important RNP complexes, with special emphasis on the core and auxiliary translational machineries. Regulatory function encompasses architectural, guiding and modifying functions, and also functions in non-conventional translation initiation and translation reprogramming.