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Susan Madison-Antenucci, Ph.D.

Susan Madison-Antenucci, Ph.D.

Director of the Parasitology Laboratory
Assistant Professor, School of Public Health, Biomedical Sciences
Ph.D., Duke University (1994)
Postdoctoral training: University of Alabama at Birmingham
(518) 473-2692
(518) 486-7971

Research Interests

The parasite Trypanosoma brucei is a blood-borne pathogen that causes both human and zoonotic disease. T. brucei and related trypanosomatids are early eukaryotes and successful pathogens. Currently no preventative therapies are available and treatment is difficult, despite our knowledge of several unique biological processes with the potential to be exploited as drug targets. One such unusual process is RNA editing. RNA editing is found in many organisms including plants, yeast, humans and other mammals, although the mechanisms of editing are distinct. Within the trypanosomatids RNA editing is achieved by the insertion of non-encoded uridines or the deletion of encoded uridines. In the most extreme cases over 50% of the mature mRNA is the result of post-transcriptional editing. Editing takes place exclusively in the mitochondria, where it is required in order to generate mature mRNAs competent for translation into the correct proteins, and is carried out by a large ribonucleoprotein complex.

Our work focuses on the biochemistry of editing by this multiprotein complex. We have identified a protein, RNA-Editing Associated Protein-1 (REAP-1), which specifically recognizes RNAs requiring editing. Evidence suggests that REAP-1 acts as a recruitment factor to deliver RNAs to the editing complex. REAP-1 is one of only two proteins that have been identified as components not of the core catalytic complex but of a larger (35-40S) complex believed to function in vivo. Through a combination of genetic and biochemical approaches, current work in the lab involves understanding how REAP-1 specifically recognizes and binds to its RNA targets, identifying other proteins with which REAP-1 interacts and determining how REAP-1 influences editing complex assembly and regulation of RNA editing.

Select Publications

Hashem Y, Georges AD, Fu J, Buss SN, Jossinet F, Jobe A, Zhang Q, Liao HY, Grassucci RA, Bajaj C, Westhof E, Madison-Antenucci S, Frank J.
High-resolution cryo-electron microscopy structure of the Trypanosoma brucei ribosome.
Joseph JT, Purtill K, Wong SJ, Munoz J, Teal A, Madison-Antenucci S, Horowitz HW, Aguero-Rosenfeld ME, Moore JM, Abramowsky C, Wormser GP.
Vertical transmission of Babesia microti, United States.
Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Teal AE, Habura A, Ennis J, Keithly JS, Madison-Antenucci S.
A New Real-Time PCR Assay for Improved Detection of the Parasite Babesia microti.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology.
Hans J, Hajduk SL and Madison-Antenucci S.
RNA-Editing-Associated Protein 1 Null Mutant Reveals Link to Mitochondrial RNA Stability.
Madison-Antenucci S, Steege DA.
Translation limits synthesis of an assembly-initiating coat protein of filamentous phage IKe.
J Bacteriol.