Skellie Orantes Chun

A robust synthetic RNA editing system via cytidine deamination in E. coli

In a recent study1, researchers developed synthetic PPR proteins that could specify C-to-U editing of particular sequences in E. coli without any of the accessory proteins that are normally needed for editing in vascular plants. We tested whether a synthetic PPR DYW protein we designed based on Selaginella sequences could provide robust and sufficient RNA editing to a transcript of interest in our E. coli system. In parallel, we also designed three PPR DYW proteins from Arabidopsis editing factor consensus sequences to target endogenous mitochondrial transcripts. We tested the effect of expressing accessory proteins along with the synthesis PPR-DYW proteins on efficiency of editing of transcripts in E. coli.

Participating in the BTI Reu program for undergraduates has been an incredible and transformative experience for me. Prior to joining the program, I was uncertain about my future career path, but now, thanks to this opportunity, I have found my passion. I have developed a keen interest in biology and plan to pursue it as a minor. Stephane and Jose, who mentored me throughout the program, have been incredibly patient and supportive. Their knowledge and expertise have been inspiring, and I aspire to reach their level of understanding in the field. I wanted to also thank everyone else in the lab and Maureen for making me feel part of the lab. I also aspire to be as knowledgeable as they are. The experience in this program has left a lasting impact on me, and I am genuinely thankful for it. I have had the pleasure of meeting remarkable individuals who I know will remain friends for life. Thank you to the organizers of this program for providing undergraduates and high school students like me with the chance to explore various fields and make informed decisions about our future paths. Thank you!

References: 1. Bernath-Levin K, Schmidberger J, Honkanen S, et al. Cofactor-independent RNA editing by a synthetic S-type PPR protein. Synth Biol (Oxf). 2021;7(1):ysab034. doi: 10.1093/synbio/ysab034.