Kazuko Nishikura

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Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
Wistar Institute
3601 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4268
Office: 215-898-3828
Fax: 215-898-3911
B.Sc. (Biochemistry)
Kanazawa University, Japan, 1972.
Ph.D. (Medical Science )
Osaka University, Japan, 1979.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests
RNA editing, microRNA biogenesis, RNAi, apoptosis, repetitive elements, non-coding RNA

Key words: RNA editing, microRNA biogenesis, RNAi, apoptosis, repetitive elements, non-coding RNA

Description of Research
RNA editing, one of the posttranscriptional processing mechanisms, creates the RNA sequence different from that encoded within the genome and contributes to the diversity of the gene product, protein. The type of RNA editing most prevalent in higher eukaryotes converts adenosine (A) residues to inosine (I) in double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs) through the action of ADAR (adenosine deaminase acting on RNA). Three ADAR genes (ADAR1-3) have been identified in mammals. A →I RNA editing of a short dsRNA formed between a coding exon and nearby intron sequences can lead to a codon change and alteration of protein functions. However, the most frequent targets of A → I RNA editing now appear to be long dsRNAs formed from inverted Alu and LINE repeats located within introns and untranslated regions. Global editing of non-coding RNA may control the expression of genes harboring these repeat sequences of retrotransposon origin. Furthermore, evidence has been accumulating that A → I editing frequently interacts with RNA interference pathways such as microRNA biogenesis. A → I editing, once thought to affect only select genes such as by tuning their protein functions, now appears to be involved globally in such areas as regulation of retrotransposons and gene silencing, adding new challenges of fully understanding ADAR functions.

Rotation Projects
Rotations are individually discussed. Experimental techniques to be used are recombinant protein expression & purification, in vitro RNA editing assay, RT-PCR, DNA sequencing, site-directed mutagenesis, DNA transfection, ES cell culture, histology and immunohistchemistry required for phenotype analysis of ADAR knock-out mouse lines.

Lab personnel:
Kazuko Nishikura, Professor
Louis Valente, Post-doc
Yukio Kawahara, Post-doc
Hisashi Iizasa, Post-doc
Boris Zinshteyn, Undergraduate Student
Pyapalli U. Rani, Technician
Sui Liu, technician

Selected Publications

Nishikura, K: Editing the message from A to I. Nat. Biotechnol. 22: 962-63, 2004.

Wang, Q., Miyakoda, M., Yang, W., Khillan, J., Stachura, D. L., Weiss, M., J., and Nishikura, K. : Stress-induced apoptosis associated with null mutation of ADAR1 RNA editing deaminase gene. J. Biol. Chem. 279: 4952-61, 2004.

Maas, M., Rich, A., and Nishikura, K: A-to-I RNA editing: recent news and residual mysteries. J. Biol. Chem. 278: 1391-94, 2003.

Nishikura, K: A short primer on RNAi: RNA-directed RNA polymerase acts as a key catalyst. Cell 107: 415-18, 2001.

Wang, Q., Khillan, J., Gadue, P., and Nishikura, K.: Requirement of the RNA editing deaminase ADAR1 gene for embryonic erythropoiesis. Science 290: 1765-68, 2000.

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Last updated: 08/25/2016
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