“Understanding the determinants of mRNA stability in mycobacteria”
Tuberculosis is an airborne infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. As a highly successful pathogen, M. tuberculosis is able to infect, survive and proliferate within the harsh microenvironment created by human host. One of the primary means that contributes to the survival of the wide range of host defense is transcriptional remodeling, which is achieved by changing the balance between new transcription and degradation. Through mRNA degradation, M. tuberculosis can conserve energy by recycling ribonucleotides and maintaining the adequate mRNA abundance in the cell. Previous studies have shown that the stability of mRNA varies from gene to gene. There are also differences in the patterns of mRNA stability regulation between stress conditions. A better understanding of the determinants of mRNA stability in M. tuberculosis is key to shed light on how it adapts to the harsh environs. I will talk about our efforts in understanding the degradation mechanism and some preliminary results in finding the potential features that determine the mRNA stability in mycobacteria using machine learning.