Research Summary

Mobile Group II Intron and Bacterial Reverse Transcriptases and Their Applications in High-Throughput RNA sequencing, RNA Diagnostics, and Liquid Biopsy.  

The research in our laboratory focuses on group II intron and related bacterial and organellar reverse transcriptases (RTs), their reverse transcription mechanisms, association with CRISPR-Cas systems, and applications in high-throughput RNA sequencing (RNA-seq), including for the analysis of human cellular, exosomal, and plasma RNAs for RNA diagnostics and liquid biopsy of human diseases. We use a combination of genetic, biochemical, microbiological, and structural approaches. Methods employed include X-ray crystallography and cryo-EM, as well as high-throughput RNA and DNA sequencing and a wide range of bioinformatic and computational methods for analyzing sequence data and biomarker identification.



Belfort, M. and Lambowitz, A.M. Group II intron RNPs and Reverse Transcriptases: From Retroelements to Research Tools. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a032375, 2019 [Also RNA Worlds: New Tools for Deep Exploration (T.R. Cech, J.A. Steitz and J.F. Atkins, Editors), Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 2018.

Lambowitz, A.M. and Belfort, M. Mobile bacterial group II introns at the crux of eukaryotic evolution. Microbiol. Spectrum, 3(1) MDNA3-0050-2014; and Mobile DNA, 3rd Edition  (N.L. Craig, M. Chandler, M. Gellert, A.M. Lambowitz, P.A, Rice, and S. Sandmeyer, eds.) ASM Press, Washington DC, 2015.

Enyeart, P.J., Mohr, G., Ellington, A.D., and Lambowitz A.M. Biotechnological applications of mobile group II introns and their reverse transcriptases: gene targeting, RNA-seq, and non-coding RNA analysis. Mobile DNA, 5:2, 2014.

Lambowitz, A.M. and Zimmerly, S. Group II introns: mobile ribozymes that invade DNA. In: The RNA Worlds, 4th Edition (R.V. Gesteland, T.R. Cech, and J.F. Atkins, Editors), Cold Spring Harbor Press Perspect. Biol. 3(8), a003616, 2011.

Lambowitz, A.M., and Zimmerly, S.  Mobile group II introns. Annu. Rev. Genet. 38, 1-35, 2004.