Putting the polyadenylation complex together

August 26, 2009

One of the reasons for the slow pace of entries here has been the intrusion of, um, life into my life.  (Yeah, figure that one out.)  Earlier this summer, a paper from my lab was published in BMC Cell Biology.  Seeing as it’s Open Access, and since it has a bit of relevance to a theme introduced in this essay, I thought I would point it out here.

The story in a nutshell – one of the subunits of the polyadenylation complex is the so-called CPSF30 protein, or its yeast relative Yth1.  (Yth1 looms large as one of the few subunits in the Giardia complex.)  What Drs. Suryadevara Rao and Randy Dinkins did was study the places within the cell where CPSF30 goes, and what happens when one co-expresses this protein with other polyadenylation complex subunits.  They did this by attaching the various proteins to fluorescent proteins and following the fusion proteins using microscopic techniques.

The results corroborated other studies that detailed interactions between various of these proteins.  However, a rudimentary deletion analysis showed that these interactions by and large involve parts of CPSF30 that are not found in the mammalian or yeast proteins.  Since the CPSF30 interacts with the other proteins of interest in this study (the 160, 100, and 73 kD subunits of the cleavage and polyadenylation specificity factor, or CPSF) in other eukaryotes, it stands to reason that the interactions themselves must have evolved independently.  This in turn suggests a somewhat different trajectory in the evolution of the complex in different eukaryotic lineages.  It also raises the possibility that the different complexes may process and polyadenylate RNAs in subtly different ways.

Some pretty pictures and a link to a fascinating movie may be found beneath the fold.  Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry »

Four weeks on the road …

August 26, 2009

3352 Hunting Hills Ct, Lexington-Fayette, KY 40515 to Cold Sprin

Well, not all on the road.  Most of one week at home packing between trips, and a few days at Cold Spring Harbor in NY.

Hunt Lab Reunion

August 22, 2009


… at the 2009 Cold Spring Harbor Meeting on Eukaryotic mRNA Processing.  From left to right, Kevin Forbes (former Ph.D. student), yours truly, and Quinn Li (former Ph.D. student).

The mini-reunion was a highlight of a great meeting.   I may (no promises!) post a brief summary in a few days, once I figure out how to summarize things without violating the spirit of the meeting (what happens at CSH stays in CSH). Read the rest of this entry »


August 13, 2009


The past few weeks (it seems a lot longer) have been spent largely on the road.  The task has been to move my oldest daughter (Heather) to Missoula MT, where she will be attending the University of Montana.  We folded a family road trip into the move and took a few weeks to accomplish the task.  A brief photo recap is beneath the fold.  I hope to return to some of the more usual blog entries after the next road trip (moving Amy back to Juniata, wrapped around the Eukaryotic mRNA Processing meeting at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory).  Enjoy. (Warning – quite a few pictures, which may make for slow loading.)

Read the rest of this entry »